The newly established Chinese-Language Film Festival Ireland kicked off its inaugural program with a special spotlight on Taiwanese films at the Irish Film Institute (IFI) in May 2017.
"This festival gives audiences the opportunity to see the very best of modern Taiwanese cinema, alongside rarely-screened classics that form the basis of the canon of cinema from East Asia,” stated David O'Mahony, head of Cinema Programming at the IFI.
Two high-profile Taiwanese productions made their Irish debut at the festival - queer-focused documentary "Small Talk” filmed by Huang Hui-chen (黃惠偵) and migrant-oriented drama "The Road to Mandalay” directed by Midi Z (趙德胤).
The newly restored "A Touch of Zen,” the 1971 eloquent masterpiece from the forerunner of wuxia films King Hu (胡金銓), was also screened in glorious 4K on May 14.
Rounding up the "Made in Taiwan” program were six animated short films selected by Wang Chi-sui (王綺穗), executive curator of the Kuandu International Animation Festival in Taiwan.
The highlight of the festival was marked by a rare appearance by auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢). Accompanied by long-time collaborator Chu Tien-wen (朱天文), Hou visited Dublin for the first time to present a masterclass on May 13.
Programme Director Marie-Pierre Richard noted that "Mr. Hou Hsiao-Hsien has been instrumental in bringing East Asian cinema to the world stage. His subjects are intimate and personal, but his films speak to a universal, timeless human experience."
Four of Hou's films were screened in the festival's "Made in Taiwan" program – the semi-autobiographical film "A Time to Live, A Time to Die" (1985), coming-of-age drama "The Boys From Fengkuei" (1983), martial-era epic "A City of Sadness" (1989), and wuxia fantasy "The Assassin" (2015).