Introducing Taiwanese-Language Cinema in Europe

In: International Journal of Taiwan Studies
Chris Berry Professor, Department of Film Studies, King’s College London, London, UK,

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How do you get people interested in something they know nothing about? Something old, forgotten—and in black and white with subtitles? ‘Taiwan’s Lost Commercial Cinema: Recovered and Restored’ is a project to screen old Taiwanese-language films (taiyupian), mostly from the 1960s, in Europe. It was a learning experience in working with Taiwanese culture in Europe. This report is my effort to reflect on that experience and I try to answer two questions. First, what is so interesting about these films? Second, why was it so difficult to make the initial breakthrough and what made it possible in the end? There are many different elements at play. But I have come to understand that the environment for screening alternative, archive, and art films has changed over the decades to create both new problems and new possibilities, among which the potential for universities to be cultural incubators has been crucial.

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