Past Season:

New Taiwanese Cinema

Thu 07 Sep — Mon 13 Nov 2023

For the first time in the UK, masterpieces from 1980s, 90s, and 00s Taiwanese cinema will be screened collectively in a groundbreaking new season at The Garden Cinema.  

Geopolitically unique, Taiwan [Republic of China] defines itself through and against a notoriously unstable relationship with Mainland China and the high stakes cultural, technological, and military competition that continues to escalate both regionally and globally.

It is tempting to draw similar comparisons between the cinema of Taiwan and the Mainland which pit creative freedom against state censorship, and cultural conservatism against progressive social attitudes. But whilst there is value in such assessments, to view New Taiwanese Cinema through such a prism is to negate more localised cultural and industrial currents and tensions in Taiwan during the late 20th century. Early portmanteau films in this season (In Our Time and The Sandwich Man) were produced through the Government’s Central Motion Picture Corporation (CMPC) in an attempt to define an authentic national cinematic style. But it was not until the 1987 Taiwan Cinema Manifesto that a concerted, and auteur driven, effort to deviate from the commercial style of filmmaking (effectively mimicking Hong Kong and Hollywood), arose. Whilst this marks a controversial moment in Taiwan cinema that sparked debates over the relationship between art, entertainment, and commerce, the subsequent period from the late 1980s to early 2000s saw the refinement of a cinematic movement that would result in some of the most beloved and highly regarded films of all time, made by a group of now-legendary directors.

Predicated around three pillars of Taiwanese cinema, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang, and Tsai Ming-liang, this new season invites audiences to engage with a selection of films from the first (1980s) and second (1990s-2000s) waves of New Taiwanese Cinema on their own aesthetic and narrative terms, as well as within wider national and international contexts. Hou’s international breakthrough, the autobiographical A Time to Live, a Time to Die plays alongside the sumptuous new restoration of Flowers of Shanghai. Two of Tsai’s 90s queer cinema classics, Rebels of the Neon God and Vive L’Amour, complement his timeless meditation on cinema going, Goodbye, Dragon Inn (presented here in a double bill with King Hu’s wuxia classic Dragon Inn). Edward Yang is celebrated here with two works considered to be amongst the greatest of all time: his epic A Brighter Summer Day and Yi Yi.     

Guided by regular introductions and discussion groups, these screenings offer the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the cinema of Taiwan for the first time, or to experience these classics anew on the big screen.

Past Screenings

Goodbye, Dragon Inn PG

In Taipei City, a cavernous old picture palace is about to close its doors forever. A meagre audience, the remaining few… Read More
Tsai Ming-Liang, Taiwan, 2003, 82m.
This screening has now passed.

Yi Yi 15

The extraordinary, internationally embraced Yi Yi (A One and a Two), directed by the late Taiwanese master Edward Yang, follows a middle-class… Read More
Edward Yang, Taiwan, 2000, 173m.
This screening has now passed.

Dragon Inn 12A

A quintessential entryway into the highly stylized, tightly choreographed wuxia genre of martial arts cinema, Dragon Inn was a global breakthrough for… Read More
King Hu, Taiwan, 1967, 111m.
This screening has now passed.

Flowers of Shanghai 15

An intoxicating, time-bending experience bathed in the golden glow of oil lamps and wreathed in an opium haze, this gorgeous period… Read More
Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Taiwan, 1998, 115m.
This screening has now passed.

A Time to Live, A Time to Die 12A

With a pre-recorded introduction by Tony Rayns. Inspired by filmmaker Hsiao-hsien Hou's own childhood, this drama centers on Ah-Ha-Gu (You Anshun),… Read More
Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan, 1985, 138m.
This screening has now passed.

Vive L'Amour 18

Featuring a pre-recorded introduction by Victor Fan [KCL]. The sophomore feature from Tsai Ming-liang finds the acclaimed master of Taiwan's Second… Read More
Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan, 1994, 118m.
This screening has now passed.

The Sandwich Man 18

The second of two portmanteau films produced by the Central Motion Picture Corporation in the early 1980s as part of their… Read More
Hou Hsiao-hsien, Wan Jen, Zeng Zhuang Xiang, Taiwan, 1983, 103m.
This screening has now passed.

Rebels of the Neon God 18

Tsai Ming-Liang’s debut, about a juvenile delinquent roaming the streets of Taipei, marks the first appearance of Hsiao Kang, a recurring… Read More
Tsai Ming-Liang, Taiwan, 1992, 106m.
This screening has now passed.

A Brighter Summer Day 15

Among the most praised titles in all contemporary film, this singular masterpiece of Taiwanese cinema, directed by Edward Yang, is presented… Read More
Edward Yang, Taiwan, 1991, 237m.
This screening has now passed.

In Our Time 18

Our screening on Thursday 7 September will be introduced by Tony Rayns and will be followed by a post film discussion… Read More
Edward Yang, Tao dechen, Ko I-Cheng, Zhang yi, Taiwan, 1982, 106m.
This screening has now passed.