Art and Entertainment

Restored classics and the ultramodern Nina Wu celebrated at Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival

Date: September 9th, 2020
By: Charlie Smith

Wu Ke-Xi plays the title character in Nina Wu, a new drama in a program rich with forgotten treasures of Taiwanese cinema.

Normally, the Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival showcases contemporary films with actors from the democratic island nation off the east coast of China.

That tradition will continue with this year’s 14th annual TWFF, which runs for free online from Friday (September 11) to September 20, with the Canadian premiere of the psychological drama Nina Wu.

Directed by Myanmar-born Midi Z, Nina Wu was screened at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and was written by and stars Taiwanese actor Wu Ke-Xi. Her character, Nina Wu, endures pain, exploitation, and humiliation as she tries to launch an acting career.

In addition, Wu will participate in a videotaped panel discussion with Carleen Kyle, president of Women in Film and Television Vancouver, to discuss how women are treated in the film industries in Taiwan and Canada. The audience size is being limited to 300, with free registration through    [FULL  STORY]

Taipei Music Center set to drive industry development: Tsai

Focus Taiwan
Date: 08/27/2020
By interns Grace Hu,
Meryl Kao, and Eden Wang

CNA photo Aug. 27, 2020

CNA photo Aug. 27, 2020[/caption] Taipei, Aug. 27 (CNA) The newly inaugurated Taipei Music Center is part of the government's efforts to boost the development of the pop music industry in Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said at the opening of the new venue Thursday.

"Taiwan has always been at the heart of the Mando-pop world, and many popular songs started in Taiwan," said Tsai, who also expressed her hope that the center, which cost NT$6 billion (US$204.41 million), will help maintain Taiwan's status as a hub for pop music in Asia over the coming decades.

According to Tsai, the new center has the capacity to seat an audience of 6,000 and fills a gap in Taipei, which lacks a medium-sized venue between live houses and Taipei Arena.

"What you have established is the future of Taiwan's pop music," Tsai said when addressing staff at the center in Taipei's Nangang District, which took 17 years to plan and build.

No masks on red carpet as Taiwan logs few COVID-19 cases

Date: Jul. 12, 2020

Taiwan wrapped up an annual film festival with an awards ceremony Saturday night, as the

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP)

island holds more public events after keeping its coronavirus outbreak to a few hundred cases. 

Actors and others lined up for photo shoots with no social distancing, and participants didn't wear masks in historic Zhongshan Hall in Taipei. Taiwan, with a population of about 23 million people, has had 451 confirmed cases and seven deaths. 

A baseball game in the city of Taichung on Saturday drew more than 10,000 fans for the first time this season, the official Central News Agency said. Health authorities said last month that fans would be allowed to sit in alternate seats and no longer would have to wear masks, except when leaving their seats. Authorities have been gradually allowing larger crowds since play began in April with no fans.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwanese actress Michelle Chen marks actor husband Chen Xiao’s birthday with family photo

Straits Times
Date: JUL 5, 2020
By: Jan Lee

Actor Chen Xiao (left) with his actress wife Michelle Chen (right) and their son.PHOTO: MICHELLE CHEN/WEIBO

To celebrate her husband's birthday, Taiwanese actress Michelle Chen, 37, took to Chinese microblogging site Weibo to share a family photo.

She celebrated her Chinese actor husband Chen Xiao turning 33 on Sunday (July 5) with a picture of the couple with their son, aged three, all in matching denim outfits.

Their son, who rarely appears in his parents' social media posts, had his face obscured with a lollipop.

The couple fell in love while filming the 2014 drama series The Romance Of The Condor Heroes, based on Louis Cha's wuxia novel The Return Of The Condor Heroes.

Taiwan NSO director concludes farewell concert with Mahler pieces

Respected conductor thanks Taiwanese audience’s support during 10-year tenure

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/06/21
By: Ching-Tse Cheng, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Lu Shao-chia conducts his last NSO concert on Saturday. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Acclaimed conductor Lu Shao-chia (呂紹嘉), music director of Taiwan's National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), on Saturday (June 20) marked the end of his 10-year tenure with a farewell concert at the National Concert Hall.

The concert, titled "Lu & Mahler 9," attracted a sold-out crowd of more than 500 music lovers Saturday evening, including many who drove all the way from southern Taiwan to witness Lu's brilliance. Newly appointed Minister of Culture Li Yong-de (李永得), his wife, Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩), and Cloud Gate Dance Theater founder Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) were also in attendance, according to Radio Taiwan International.

In the first half of the concert, the orchestra performed Haydn's Symphony No. 45, also known as the "Farewell Symphony," as a tribute to Lu's contributions to the island nation's music culture over the last decade. The beloved director went on to conduct Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 9 for the third time in his career later in the performance, paralleling his NSO departure and the Austro-Bohemian composer's farewell to the world.

At the end of the concert, Lu expressed his gratitude for Taiwanese music lovers' constant support. He said that he regretted not being able to converse with the audience but that the concert pieces had conveyed all his thoughts and feelings.    [FULL  STORY]

Seven-week Taipei Arts Festival opens on July 31

NO. 22: Organizers said they feel very fortunate to be able to present the event at a time when COVID-19 has forced so many other festivals around the world to cancel

Taipei Times
Date: Jun 22, 2020
By: Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporter

Taipei Art Festival curator Teng Fu-chuan, fourth left back row, Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs Deputy Commissioner Chen Yu-hsin, fifth right back row, Taipei Performing Arts Center Director Austin Wang, fourth right back row, and Taipei Art Festival staff pose for photographers at a news conference in Taipei on Wednesday to announce the line-up for this year’s festival.
Photo: CNA

The Taipei Arts Festival is to open on July 31, with this year’s theme — “Super@#$%?” — aimed at reflecting on the human pursuit for the “super” within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The concept of the “super” represents the human desire to transcend humanity, said Singaporean Teng Fu-chuan (鄧富權), who has been the festival’s curator since 2018.

With recent crises bringing to light the overconsumption of resources, the festival aims to reflect on the ramifications of that pursuit in this “post-super” state, he said.

It also seeks to continue presenting the stage as an important gathering place, he said.

Award-winning actor known for starring in music videos

Straits Times
Date:May 26, 2020
By: Jan Lee

Wu Pong-fong (above) had appeared in the music videos of popular Taiwanese band EggPlantEgg for hit songs such as Back Here Again. PHOTO: EGGPLANTEGG/ YOUTUBE

TAIPEI • Taiwanese actor Wu Pong-fong, who once won the coveted Golden Horse Award for best supporting actor, has been found dead in his home.

News of his death broke on Taiwanese media on Tuesday morning. He was 55.

According to Taiwanese news reports, while the cause of death is not yet confirmed, Wu's niece found him dead on the floor of his balcony in what is believed to be a case of sudden death. Foul play is not suspected.

Wu, who was unmarried and had no children, reportedly lived alone in a sixth-floor apartment in Taipei, while his relatives lived in the same block but on a lower floor.    [FULL  STORY]

On Sacrifice, First-Gen Guilt, and How Alan Yang’s Film ‘Tigertail’ Broadens a Conversation Started on ‘Master of None’

Date: May 9, 2020 
By: Roxana Hadadi

Five years ago, Master of None co-creator Alan Yang co-wrote the episode “Parents” alongside creative partner Aziz Ansari. In it, Ansari’s character, the Indian-American Dev, and his Taiwanese-American friend Brian (Kelvin Yu) discuss the sacrifices their parents made in coming to the United States, and the specific sort of silence with which they’ve both grown up. As first-gen immigrants, they’re accustomed to gaps in their parents’ biographies and to unanswered questions about their pasts. They help their parents fix glitches with their cellphones and laptops and they’re berated for not calling very often, but they’ve sort of resigned themselves to the impossibility of a closer relationship or more emotional honesty.

Well, sort of; there is still some self-effacing Millennial sarcasm here:

Dev: What? What is going on right now? We can’t have dinner with them again. I’m not trying to hang out with Peter Chang on the regs.

Brian: No, I just wanted to do one dinner. I don’t want, like, a serious relationship with my father.

I was really knocked back by this episode of Master of None for how much it synced up with my own experiences with my parents, and for that reason I was both excited—and trepidatious—about watching Tigertail. Yang’s directorial debut, which started streaming on Netflix in April, basically takes the core idea of “Parents” and expands it to a 91-minute feature film. And the impressive thing the film does, and how it expands the conversation started in “Parents” with an admission like this …    [FULL  STORY]

Why Hank from Tigertail looks so familiar

Date: April 25, 2020
By: Mike Floorwalker

Tigertail debuted on Netflix on April 10, 2020 to widespread acclaim. Written and directed by former Parks and Recreation scribe Alan Yang in his feature directorial debut, Tigertail tells a moving and deeply personal tale of the immigrant experience (Yang himself is the son of Taiwanese immigrants) that has resonated with viewers of all backgrounds.

The film follows Pin-Jui (Hong-Chi Lee), an individualist young man who leaves behind his life (and love) in Taiwan to move to America in hopes of a better future. As Pin-Jui grows older (this version played in the film by Tzi Ma) — living in an arranged marriage to Zhenzhen (Fiona Fu) without true love or care, working a tedious job, and struggling to connect with his daughter Angela (Christine Ko) — he knows he must find himself again. In the past lies Pin-Jui's future — one he hopes will be filled with happiness.

There are a few well-known faces among the cast of Tigertail, but one in particular is likely to be quite familiar — if perhaps a bit difficult to place. The character of Hank, Zhenzhen's new husband after she and Pin-Jui divorce, is a relatively minor one. However, if you've watched television in the last four decades or so, you've definitely seen the actor who plays him before.   [FULL  STORY]

Film review: ‘Tigertail’ is deeply touching, but fails to achieve narrative brilliance

Arab News
Date: April 19, 2020
By: Gautaman Bhaskara

The movie opens in the rice fields of Taiwan where we see a boy who has been sent by his single mother to live with his grandparents. (Supplied)

CHENNAI: Many films on immigrants focus on their plight in the new land, but Alan Yang’s new offering on Netflix, “Tigertail,” though inspired by his own father’s story who migrated from Taiwan to the US, has much more to say about the protagonist’s relationship with four women in his life — his mother, his former girlfriend in Taiwan, his wife in the US and his daughter. While Pin-Jui (Tzi Ma in his middle age, Hong-Chi Lee as a young man and Zhi-Hao Yang as a boy) shares an extremely warm bond with his mother and his former girlfriend, his relationship with his wife and daughter is strained. 

“Tigertail” is inspired by the filmmaker’s own father’s story who migrated from Taiwan to the US. (Supplied)

The movie opens in the rice fields of Taiwan where we see a boy who has been sent by his single mother to live with his grandparents. Later, Pin-Jui relocates to a town to work along with his mother, who is a factory-hand. Torn between his dream to migrate to the US and better his dreary prospects, he gives up his girlfriend to marry the factory owner’s daughter who gives them tickets to America. Although he finally finds financial success, his personal life falls into a rut. Divorced and lonely, his only child, daughter Angela (Christine Ko), does not keep in touch with him.

Yang — known as the producer-writer behind the brilliant “Parks and Recreation,” “Master of None” and “Little America” — splendidly juxtaposes the present with the past and by keeping the plot simple, confusion is avoided. Some of the most impressive scenes are Pin-Jui’s days with his first love, Yuan (Yo-Hsing). Later, Pin-Jui as an older, grumpy and distraught man, finds it hard to break the ice with Angela, and some of the touching snapshots come in the scenes between the two, but Ko is too wooden to leave a mark.    [FULL  STORY]