Film Screenings—Dreaming Impossible Dreams: Taiwanese-Language Films from the 1960s

Film Screenings—Dreaming Impossible Dreams: Taiwanese-Language Films from the 1960s


Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

Tue, 04/26/2022 – 11:21

FILM at LACMA presents classic and contemporary narrative and documentary films, artists and their influences, emerging auteurs, international showcases, special guest-curated programs, and conversations with artists and special guests. 

This May, celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with FILM at LACMA by watching this virtual film series that completely shatters preconceptions about the Taiwanese New Wave and Second New Wave periods. Despite their very low budgets and tremendous hardship behind the scenes, the titles in this limited run of restored films from the Golden Age of Taiwanese-language black-and-white cinema explode with themes of longing, lust, adventure, and fantasy. These films thrived despite being created during a time when the Kuomintang government ruled the island under martial law and promoted a “healthy realism” genre of film that only focused on positive themes and traditional moral values. 

Curated by Hanna Huang and Joshua Martin, this program will screen six restored black-and-white “taiyupian” from Taiwan’s lost commercial film period of the 1950s–60s. During this period, over 1,200 films were made in black-and-white film and primarily in Taiwanese language. Of these, only 200+ have been identified and logged. A small selection of the films are being restored by the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute into 2K and suitable for theatrical viewing.

Co-presented by the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute, the Taiwan Academy of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles (TECO-LA), and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of China (Taiwan).

These films will be available for streaming from May 18 to May 31, 2022. Watch the six-film program and bonus content with guests such as National Book Award winner Charles Yu.

The Films:
The Husband’s Secret 丈夫的秘密 (1960)
Dir. LIN Tuan-Chiu, Taiwan, 102 min, Taiwanese with English & Chinese Traditional Subtitles
Description: Tshiu-Bi reunites with her old classmate and friend Le-Hun, a destitute single mother. When Le-Hun falls ill in the middle of the street, Tshiu-Bi takes her in, not realizing that her friend and her husband had a past history. Unwittingly shaking up their comfortable middle-class marriage, more secrets emerge from this complicated love triangle.

Fantasy of the Deer Warrior 大俠梅花鹿 (1961)
Dir. CHANG Ying, Taiwan, 87 min, Taiwanese with English & Chinese Traditional Subtitles, Action Fantasy Fable
Description: A completely unique Taiwanese fantasy-fable-melodrama about the interactions between various animals in the forest. What makes this so unique is that the animals are played by actors dressed in rather inexpensive costumes. Oddly fascinating and involving.

Little Heroes vs. Two Masked Villains 雙雄大鬥雙假面 (1962)
Dir. SHAO Luohui, Taiwan, 106 min, Taiwanese with English & Chinese Traditional Subtitles, Wuxia
Description: King Gui’s two daughters become the victims of the Demon Society as the villains try to seize King Gui’s treasured Dragon and Phoenix Swords. When King Gui is at his wit’s end, Jhuge Shiro and Zheng Ping, two young swordsmen, turn up and solve the crisis. Made in the era of Taiwanese-language cinema, traditional music and dance are incorporated in the film; moreover, the masks the gangsters wear have become a unique trademark. This production was the first live-action movie based on the Jhuge Shiro comic series published by Yeh Hung-chia starting in 1958, and the only Taiwanese-language Jhuge Shiro movie that has survived.

Romance at Lungshan Temple 龍山寺之戀 (1962)
Dir. PAI Ke, Taiwan, 98 min, Mandarin & Taiwanese with English & Chinese Traditional Subtitles, Romantic Comedy Musical
Description: Hsiao-fang Chin, a recent Chinese immigrant to Taiwan who loves to sing, quits school to work and earn money to treat her father’s illness. As she faces rejection from other Taiwanese (also known as benshengren 本省人) while trying to find work, she comes across two seemingly unrelated men who develop feelings for her and try to win her affection. Director PAI ke uses this romantic comedy to address the cultural and ethnic divide of Taiwan’s Han-ethnic majority populations.

The Best Secret Agent 天字第一號 (1964)
Dir. CHANG Ying, Taiwan, 102 min, Taiwanese with English & Chinese Traditional Subtitles, Spy Thriller Description: Star-crossed lovers Cuiying and Lingyun are caught in the crossfires of the politically turbulent period of the Sino-Japanese War. As the struggle of love and patriotism keeps getting more complex, a mysterious Special Agent 001 runs amok sabotaging the Japanese. This first ever Taiwanese-language spy movie produced in Taiwan is often compared to the 007 movies. The Best Secret Agent is a remake of a 1945 movie of the same name that caused a sensation in Shanghai.

Six Suspects 六個嫌疑犯 (1965)
Dir. LIN Tuan-Chiu, Taiwan, 109 min, Taiwanese with English & Chinese Traditional Subtitles, Spy Thriller Description: A private eye spies on his ex-lover, who is the personal assistant for a steel company chairman. He knows various people’s dirty secrets and decides to start blackmailing them. But when his ex is found dead, he starts to investigate the suspects. This noir adaptation of a Japanese film was never released in the 1960s, but now we have the chance to appreciate this edgy and disturbing depiction of Taipei’s seamy underside during the Martial Law era.

This screening is hosted by Slipstream, a LACMA-approved third-party screening platform. If you have not previously registered with Slipstream, you will be asked to provide a valid email address and set a password to create an account. After you register or log in to your Slipstream account, you will then be prompted to enter the password above.

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Film Screenings—Dreaming Impossible Dreams: Taiwanese-Language Films from the 1960s
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This screening will take place online. 

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Wed, 05/18/2022 – 00:00
-Tue, 05/31/2022 – 00:00
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Mon, 05/24/2021 – 16:21
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Image: Still images from The Husband’s Secret 丈夫的秘密(1960), Fantasy of the Deer Warrior 大俠梅花鹿(1961), Little Heroes vs. Two Masked Villains 雙雄大鬥雙假面(1962), Romance at Lungshan Temple 龍山寺之戀(1962), The Best Secret Agent 天字第一號(1964), Six Suspects 六個嫌疑犯(1965) courtesy of Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute.

Learn more about the complete catalogue of LACMA programs for all ages—many free. Discover film screenings, art talks and classes, music, creative fun for kids, wellness activities, and more.

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Free, RSVP required

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