L.A. museum of art to screen Taiwanese Hoklo films during Asian heritage month

05/07/2022 01:58 PM
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Photo courtesy of the Taiwan Academy of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Los Angeles
Photo courtesy of the Taiwan Academy of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, May 6 (CNA) The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will screen several restored Taiwanese Hoklo films from the 1960s as part of the Asian-Pacific American (AAPI) Heritage Month celebration in May.

According to a LACMA release this week, the program titled "Dreaming Impossible Dreams" will take place virtually and screen six black-and-white Taiwanese films online, including "The Husband's Secret" (丈夫的秘密), "Fantasy of the Deer Warrior" (大俠梅花鹿), "Little Heroes vs. Two Masked Villains" (雙雄大鬥雙假面), "Romance at Lungshan Temple" (龍山寺之戀), "The Best Secret Agent" (天字第一號), and "Six Suspects" (六個嫌疑犯).

These low-budget films were among more than 1,200 black-and-white movies made primarily in Taiwan's Hoklo (aka Minnan or Fujianese) dialect in the 1950s and 1960s, but only some 200 have been identified and logged, the museum said.

The films in this virtual film series will completely shatter preconceptions about the Taiwanese New Wave and Second New Wave periods of filmmaking, the museum said.

Despite being made during the 1950s to 1960s when Taiwan was ruled under martial law and the government at that time was promoting a "healthy realism" genre of film that only focused on positive themes and traditional moral values, these films explored the themes of longing, lust, adventure and fantasy.

"The 1960s was the golden age of Taiwanese-language film production, but most reels have been lost or destroyed," the Taiwan Academy of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Los Angeles said on Friday.

A small selection of the films, LACMA said, are being restored by the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute (TFAI) to make them suitable for theatrical viewing.

As part of a digital restoration project, TFAI in recent years has been helping to restore some of the old films from this era, the academy said.

The upcoming screening will be the first time that LACMA is featuring Taiwanese Hoklo films to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month.

Meanwhile, in order to allow the American audience to know more about these films, LACMA said the curators also produced six bonus content videos with guests such as the author of "Interior Chinatown" and the 2020 National Book Award winner Charles Yu (游朝凱).

The six films will be available for streaming from May 18-31 via https://www.lacma.org/event/dreaming

(By Lin Hung-han and Ko Lin)

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