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The Sandwich Man 18

Hou Hsiao-hsien, Wan Jen, Zeng Zhuang Xiang, Taiwan, 1983, 103m.

The second of two portmanteau films produced by the Central Motion Picture Corporation in the early 1980s as part of their newcomer policy, The Sandwich Man consists of three adaptations of stories by the influential Nativist author Huang Chun-ming.

In the first segment, Hou Hsiao-hsien poignantly depicts the challenges faced by an illiterate laborer in a rapidly modernizing world and reflexively uses his job as a walking movie advertisement to comment upon the exigencies of the commercial film industry.

The metaphoric exploration of Taiwan’s historical position is extended in the segments directed by Tseng Chuang-hsiang and Wan Jen, which critically portray the effects of Japanese consumer goods and American military personnel on Taiwanese life. Wan’s Vietnam War-era satire of neocolonialism antagonised conservative critics and provoked the New Cinema’s first public controversy.

Our screening on Thursday 28 September was introduced by Tony Rayns and was followed by a post film discussion in the Garden Cinema bar.

Bor Jeng Chen, Yang Li-Yin, Tseng Kuo-feng, Te-Nan Lai

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