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Taiwanese films resonate with Spanish film fans at Barcelona festival

05/19/2024 09:18 PM
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Attendees to the "Taiwán, historias desde dentro" film fest await the screening of their movie at Barcelona's Cinemes Girona cinema. Photo courtesy of the cultural division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Spain
Attendees to the "Taiwán, historias desde dentro" film fest await the screening of their movie at Barcelona's Cinemes Girona cinema. Photo courtesy of the cultural division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Spain

Madrid, May 19 (CNA) A three-day film festival featuring Taiwanese movies from the last decade concluded Saturday in Barcelona, with Spanish audiences finding that they could relate to Taiwan's current ideologies and traditions.

Co-organized by the cultural division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Spain and two Spanish film festival organizers, Miquel Martí Freixas and Catarina Brites Soares, the "Taiwán, historias desde dentro" (Taiwan, stories from within) film exhibition was held at Barcelona's Cinemes Girona cinema.

The movie poster of "Taiwán, historias desde dentro" film fest. Photo courtesy of the cultural division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Spain
The movie poster of "Taiwán, historias desde dentro" film fest. Photo courtesy of the cultural division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Spain

Frexias and Soares selected six Taiwan productions from the last decade for the festival that represented diverse genres and tackled various issues faced by the people of present-day Taiwan.

The six movies chosen were the feature length dramas "A Journey in Spring" (春行) and "Moneyboys" (金錢男孩), short films "The Pig" (豬), "The Clock" (阿霞的掛鐘), and "Temporary" (臨時工), and a documentary "Terra Nullius or: How to Be a Nationalist" (無主之地:一部台灣電影).

Speaking with CNA, the two festival curators said a main reason why the six pictures were selected was to showcase current Taiwanese films, especially ones centered around female characters or made by a female director.

While the "Taiwan New Wave" cinematic movement in the 1980s introduced Taiwanese movies to the world, the two curators said they wanted to show film fans in Barcelona other social issues faced in Taiwan through lesser known films or ones lost to history.

Different culture, similar ideologies

Co-directed by female filmmakers Peng Tzu-hui (彭紫惠) and Wang Ping-wen (王品文), "A Journey in Spring," was the first film featured at the festival on Thursday.

Its Silver Shell award-winning status at the 2023 San Sebastian Film Festival helped it nearly sell out the theater at the Barcelona viewing.

Chang Yu-hsuan (張祐瑄), the head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Spain's cultural division, said the Q&A forum for the film drew the active participation of audience members, who showed interest in the depiction of the emotional spectrum of traditional Taiwanese men.

Jay Yo Chen (陳潔曜), an academic studying film in France, held a number of forums in conjunction with the festival.

Attendees to the "Taiwán, historias desde dentro" film fest wait in line for their screening. Photo courtesy of the cultural division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Spain
Attendees to the "Taiwán, historias desde dentro" film fest wait in line for their screening. Photo courtesy of the cultural division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Spain
Attendees to the "Taiwán, historias desde dentro" film fest wait in line for their screening outside of Barcelona's Cinemes Girona cinema. Photo courtesy of the cultural division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Spain
Attendees to the "Taiwán, historias desde dentro" film fest wait in line for their screening outside of Barcelona's Cinemes Girona cinema. Photo courtesy of the cultural division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Spain

Chen said he felt that the audiences in Barcelona displayed obvious interest in Taiwan's culture through the movies.

Festival attendees seemed interested the correlation between Taiwan's democracy and filmmaking and related to Taiwan's philosophies on life, social empathy and gender identity, despite the two countries' cultural differences, he said.

At the same time, Chen said that through the festival, audiences "were able to appreciate how Taiwanese films, in the complex geopolitical environment in which Mandarin-language films exist, became standard-bearers for democracy."

Chen also said he hoped to see Spain and other European countries continue to pay attention to Taiwanese films and their connection to democracy.

(By Hu Chia-chi and James Lo)

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