Known as the great promoter of Asian cinema in Europe, the Far East Film Festival 2018 ran from April 20 to 28 in the historic Italian city of Udine. This year, the Taiwan Film Institute and FEFF have come together to hold a "Taiwan Night," inviting important international filmmakers and distinguished guests from around the world to join in celebrating the Taiwanese films that have been chosen for this year's festival.
Iconic veteran actress Brigitte Lin was also honored at the festival this year, accepting the Golden Mulberry Award for Lifetime Achievement in person at the Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine in front of an audience of nearly 1,200 strong.
The Taiwan Night reception was held at the Casa della Contadinanza, with more than 200 international guests coming to partake. The event was opened by Taiwan's chief representative in Italy, Javier Ching-shan Hou, who thanked the organizers for their support of Taiwanese films and the festival for introducing Taiwan to European audiences through the universal language of cinema.
Taiwan Night's guest of honor Brigitte Lin thanked the festival's organizers for her first lifetime achievement award. Nansun Shi, who had won the award three years prior and is a close friend of Lin, was on hand to present her with the Golden Mulberry Award, and Lin's daughter Ying Oi Lam made a surprise appearance as well. Lin excitedly embracing her daughter after the latter presented her with flowers was one of the most moving scenes of the evening.
Lin went on to thank all those who had been by her side in both life and work. She recalled how her debut role in "Outside the Window," written for her by novelist Chiung Yao, changed her life, and reflected on her 12-year career in Taiwanese film, followed by a decade in Hong Kong, which together saw her become a legendary figure in Chinese-language cinema.
She was even part of the birth of the Far East Film Festival itself, as founder Sabrina Baracetti was inspired to start it after seeing "Chungking Express."
The festival also featured a retrospective of Lin's films, including a version of "Cloud of Romance" recently restored by the Taiwan Film Institute. The goal of both the retrospective and the screening of the restored film in particular was to give fans from all over the world and of all ages an opportunity to witness Lin during her formative years in Taiwan.
To meet the high expectations the Italian audience has each year for Taiwanese films at the festival, the FEFF and Taiwan Film Institute also put together a special programme of films for 2018. These included "Dear Ex," "On Happiness Road," and "Gatao 2: The New Leader Rising," the directors of which were also present to share their experiences with the audience.
In recent years, the Far East Film Festival has helped introduce European audiences to popular Taiwanese films like "52 Hertz, I Love You," "At Cafe 6," and "Mon Mon Mon Monsters," all of which had their European premieres at the festival.
The festival aims to encourage greater interaction between Taiwanese filmmakers and the international film industry, helping open up European and international markets to Taiwanese films of all types.