Raining in the Mountain | A Trip through China | Selected works of Richard Chen Yao-Chi | Love and Duty | The Husband’s Secret | Typhoon

Raining in the Mountain

MOViE MOViE Cityplaza – 4 October (Fri), 7:20pm
Broadway Cinematheque – 6 October (Sun), 3:00pm

Raining in the Mountain
King Hu | 120 min | 1979, restored in 2018 | Taiwan | DCP, original print in 35mm | Mandarin with Chinese and English subtitles
Cast: Hsu Feng, Sun Yueh, Tung Lin, Tien Feng, Shih Jun

Raining in the Mountain represents King Hu’s position as a master of Chinese martial arts cinema, aside from his well-known films Dragon Inn and A Touch of Zen. Finely crafted with a high standard of production, a sophisticated technical quality, and an artistic unity of form and content, the film is the first that Hu shot in Korea. Set in the mid-Ming period, the story begins as an aging abbot of an ancient Buddhist temple looks for his successor. A rich man and a general, both of whom covet a valuable handwritten copy of Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana housed in the temple, are invited to meet with the abbot to discuss the candidates. Meanwhile, three senior disciples of the temple are eyeing the abbot’s position, each with his own plans. The secretive collusions and power struggles between various stakeholders lead to an unexpected ending. In his unflinching portrayal of human greed and desire, Hu demonstrates keen attention to editing, mise en scène, props, setting, and historical detail, rendering a sumptuous visual experience.

Credit: Restored by and courtesy of the Taiwan Film Institute

King Hu (Hong Kong and Taiwanese, born mainland China. 1932–1997) was a director, screenwriter, actor, artist, and scholar. He pioneered a new wave of martial arts films in the 1960s with his famous works Come Drink with Me (1966) and Dragon Inn (1967). In the following decade, he achieved international fame for directing A Touch of Zen (1971), The Valiant Ones (1975), and Raining in the Mountain (1979), bringing his works to a higher level of recognition. Incorporating elements of Chinese opera into his films, he created a unique cinematic language that influenced a later generation of filmmakers, such as Tsui Hark and John Woo.

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A Trip through China

Louis Koo Cinema – 5 October (Sat), 2:15pm

A Trip through China
Benjamin Brodsky | 108 min | 1916, restored in 2013 | USA | DCP, original print in 16mm | Silent

Between 1912 and 1916, Russian-born American filmmaker Benjamin Brodsky travelled northward along the coast of China, filming the lives of people in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, Tianjin, and Beijing. In Hong Kong, he documented the Chinese and Western architecture in the central business district, from a tram riding along Des Voeux Road. Throughout his journey, he recorded street scenes with various labourers, such as rickshaw drivers, porters, and dockers. Brodsky captures the political reality of twentieth-century China during the warlord period and the cultural heritage of the country. Footage depicting street executions of criminals, exercises carried out by the Beiyang Army, and Yuan Shikai’s residence, as well as the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City, the Ming Tombs, and the Great Wall, became an important record for China. The film is screened with a live score by Taiwanese musician fish.the.

Credit: Restored by and courtesy of the Taiwan Film Institute

Benjamin Brodsky (American, born Russia. 1877–1960)
was a filmmaker and a pioneer of Hong Kong cinema. He travelled to China in 1909, starting a business screening films and selling related equipment. In 1913, he founded Variety Film Exchange Company, the first film company in Hong Kong, and recruited New York photographer Roland Van Velzer to help set up the facilities for shooting and printing in his studio on Nathan Road, Kowloon. Brodsky gained wide attention in the following year for his short film The Sport of Kings, which documents a horse race held in Hong Kong’s Happy Valley. That same year, he co-founded China Cinema Company, which facilitated his later film A Trip through China (1916).

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Selected works by Richard Chen Yao-Chi

Louis Koo Cinema – 5 October (Sat), 4:30pm

Through the Years
11 min | 1966, restored in 2016 | USA | Digital, original print in 16mm | English with Chinese subtitles

The westward expansion of railroads in the United States took the lives of many Chinese migrant workers—some say one for every mile of track laid. In this film, the desolate scenes of passing trains, ramshackle forts, and barren deserts contrast powerfully with images of smiling tourists and the waltz soundtrack.

Credit: Restored by Taipei Postproduction. Courtesy of the Taiwan Film Institute

The Mountain
19 min | 1966, restored in 2017 | Taiwan | Digital, original print in 16mm | Mandarin with English subtitles

This film follows three students of the National Taiwan Academy of Arts, including Huang Yong-Song, who later founded the magazine Echo, and director Mou Tun-Fei, as they journey into the mountainous area of Wuzhishan in Hsinchu. The film uses experimental techniques that resonates with the New Wave cinema in Europe, hinting at the frustration felt by Taiwan’s young intellectuals of the 1960s.

Credit: Restored by and courtesy of the Taiwan Film Institute

Liu Pi-Chia
27 min | 1967, restored in 2015 | USA | Digital, original print in 16mm | English with Chinese subtitles

Early in the morning, carrying a pole on his shoulder, Kuomintang army veteran Liu Pi-Chia begins to work in icy water to help build a dam in Hualien. The film depicts Liu’s life and work in simple yet detailed images to evoke his nostalgia and inner world. With a series of interviews using a cinéma-vérité approach, Liu Pi-Chia is recognised as a pioneering work and as the first true Taiwanese documentary.

Credit: Restored by Taipei Postproduction. Courtesy of the Taiwan Film Institute

Richard Chen Yao-Chi (Taiwanese, born 1938) is one of Taiwan’s best-known film directors of the 1970s, typically remembered for his melodramas and comedies. The non-fiction shorts made during and after his film studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, are major and remarkable achievements in his career. After graduation, he returned to Taiwan and directed several works in which he developed a unique style of comedy. His iconic films include A Test of Love (1970), Paul the Kid (1975), Run Lover Run (1975), The Diary of Di-Di (1977), and A Journey of Love (1978).


Newsreels

Repatriation of Japanese Prisoners and Residents in Taiwan

3 min | 1946, restored in 2016 | Taiwan | Digital, original print in 35mm | Silent

After the Allied victory in the Second World War in 1945, Taiwan was liberated from Japanese colonial rule and returned to the Republic of China. Japanese residents and prisoners on the island were repatriated. Before leaving, they sold all their unmovable possessions and bought items to bring home. The streets, train stations, and the pier in Keelung were packed with Japanese people preparing to travel.

Taiwan Garrison Command and Overseas Japanese Management Committee Sending Off the Allied Forces in Taiwan
1 min | 1946, restored in 2016 | Taiwan | Digital, original print in 35mm | Silent

As the Allied troops in Taiwan prepared to return home after the Second World War in 1945, the Taiwanese authorities held a massive cocktail party to offer their warm farewells.

Inauguration Ceremony for the First Session of the Taiwan Provincial Assembly
2 min | 1946, restored in 2016 | Taiwan | Digital, original print in 35mm | Silent

On 1 May 1946, an inauguration ceremony was held for the first session of the Taiwan Provincial Assembly. Huang Chao-Chin and Li Wan-Chu were elected speaker and deputy speaker respectively. A group photo was taken to commemorate the occasion after Huang delivered his speech to the assembly.

Credit: Restored by and courtesy of the Taiwan Film Institute

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Love and Duty

Louis Koo Cinema – 5 October (Sat), 8:45pm

Love and Duty
Bu Wancang | 153 min | 1931, restored in 2013 | Taiwan | DCP, original print in 35mm | Silent
Cast: Ruan Lingyu, Jin Yan, Chen Yanyan, Lai Ying, Yu Juyun

Produced by Lianhua Productions the year after Ruan Lingyu’s star-making turn in Dream of the Ancient Capital, Love and Duty was considered lost for decades until a copy was unearthed in the 1990s. Ruan plays a married woman who, despite society’s disdain, elopes with her first love and gives birth to a daughter. As she overcomes the hardship of raising the child on her own, she feels that her disgraceful past is hindering her daughter’s future. Leaving her daughter with her ex-husband, she ends her life by throwing herself into a river. Ruan portrays the woman from youth to old age and doubles as her teenage daughter in the same scene, in a performance remarkable for the time. The film is screened with a live score by Taiwanese musician fish.the.

Credit: Restored by and courtesy of the Taiwan Film Institute

Bu Wancang (Chinese, 1903–1974)
began his career as a cinematographer and directed his first film, Why Not Her, in 1926. During his time at Lianhua Productions, Bu directed four films starring Shanghai’s famous actress Ruan Lingyu, including The Peach Girl (1931) and Three Modern Women (1933). He also earned rave reviews for his direction of Mulan Joins the Army (1939), a film made during the ‘orphan island’ when Shanghai was encircled by Japanese forces. After the Second World War, Bu moved to Hong Kong and directed many well-received films, including The Soul of China (1948), Portrait of a Lady (1952), The Long Lane (1956), and Nobody's Child (1960).

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The Husband’s Secret

Broadway Cinematheque – 6 October (Sun), 5:25pm

The Husband’s Secret
Lin Tuan-Chiu | 102 min | 1960, restored in 2017 | Taiwan | DCP, original print in 35mm | Taiwanese with Chinese and English subtitles
Cast: Chang Mei-Yao, Chang Pan-Yang, Wu Li-Fen, Huang Hsueh-Ying, Hsu Yuan-Pei

Made at a time when Taiwanese-language films were in the doldrums, and when healthy realism was yet to become a trend in Mandarin cinema, this film stood out as a skilful and original piece of work. Centring on a woman’s tragic life and the themes of fatalism and conservatism, it reflects the society and culture of its time. The many twists and turns and the sophisticated narrative structure differentiate the work from others that deal with similar subjects. As film critic Law Wai-ming remarks, Lin Tuan-Chiu’s mise en scène is reminiscent of the films of Orson Welles, particularly in its long takes and depth of field shots. The Husband’s Secret is the only Taiwanese-language production on the list of the two hundred best Chinese-language films announced by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society.

Credit: Restored by and courtesy of the Taiwan Film Institute

Lin Tuan-Chiu (Taiwanese, 1920–1998) was a significant playwright and director known for his portrayals of female characters. Born in Taoyuan, Taiwan, Lin received high school and university education in Japan, and joined Toho Company as an assistant director in 1942. Passionate about theatre, he founded a theatre society after returning to Taiwan in the following year to take over his family’s mining business. In 1957, Lin created Yufeng Pictures and directed his first film, Brother A-San Takes Action, two years later. His other works include May 13th, Night of Sorrow (1965), and Six Suspects (1965).

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Typhoon

Broadway Cinematheque – 6 October (Sun), 7:35pm

Typhoon
Pan Lei | 110 min | 1962, restored in 2018 | Taiwan | DCP, original print in 35mm | Mandarin with Chinese and English subtitles
Cast: Tang Ching, Mu Hong, Tang Pao-Yun, King Shih, Ou Wei

Pan Lei, who first made his name as a writer, was an important film director active in Hong Kong and Taiwan in the 1960s and 1970s. Clearly standing out from its contemporaries, this film was a favourite of Pan’s and was made the year before he joined the Shaw Brothers in Hong Kong. The plot unfolds as a fugitive (Tang Ching) meets a runaway girl in his flight from the police. The two, calling themselves father and daughter, go into hiding together in a weather station on Alishan. There, they encounter the depressed wife (Mu Hong) of a meteorologist and a beautiful, innocent young woman (Tang Pao-Yun) residing in the mountains—both fall in love with the man. Planning to flee with the young woman and the money he steals before a typhoon hits, the fugitive is met with a series of unexpected events. Adapting his own novel, Pan proves exceptionally skilled in composing powerful and stylish scenes with black-and-white widescreen cinematography, garnering rave reviews following its screening at the Cinémathèque Française in April 2019.

Credit: Restored by and courtesy of the Taiwan Film Institute

Pan Lei (Taiwanese, born French Indochina. 1926–2017) was one of Taiwan’s most important directors to work in Hong Kong in the 1960s. Born in Haiphong, Pan fled to China with his family during the Second World War. After graduating from the National Jiangsu Medical College in Shanghai, he moved to Taiwan and joined the Central Motion Picture Corporation as a script writer and director. In 1963, he was recruited by the Shaw Brothers to film in Taiwan. He later formed a production company, and his best-known works, apart from Typhoon, include Lover’s Rock (1965), Fallen Petals (1968), and The Sword (1971).

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