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Image from 他們在畢業的前一天爆炸 (Days We Stared at the Sun) 

Over the past week or so, Taiwan Cinefest revealed its line-up via Twitter (@TaiwanCinefest) and Facebook. The festival is only in its fourth year and is still small, but is nonetheless giving us several films to look forward to in May. The disappointing news: there’s no 消失打看 (Xiāoshī dǎ kàn/Honey Pupu, 2012), which I had been hoping for. I also wouldn’t have minded another screening of 星空 (Xīngkōng/Starry Starry Night, 2011), although I did already see that one. The good news: All films are UK premieres and there is a little bit of everything (in other words: something for everyone): gangster action, history through comedy, sentimental melodrama, coming-of-age squabbles & youthful heartache, as well as musical docudrama.

Festival dates: May 24, 25 and 26, 2012.
Screening locations: Apollo Cinema Picadilly (opening film); The Horse Hospital (all other screenings). See also here.

Short festival trailer: on YouTube.

The London lineup for 2012 (click on film titles for trailers):

  • 電哪吒 (Diàn nǎ zhā/The Spin Kid, 2011) – UK Premiere & Opening Night Film. Screening plus Q&A with director Joe Lee. Ahao is an aspiring DJ that grows up in a temple and one day becomes entangled in a crime. Clashes – between rave culture, Buddhist tradition and the world of gangster crime – abound.
  • 燃燒吧! 歐吉桑 (Ránshāo ba! Ōu jí sāng/War Game 229, 2011) – UK Premiere. A town becomes the playground for airsoft games as five old veterans defend their home turf.
  • 帶一片風景走 (Dài yīpiàn fēngjǐng zǒu/Leaving Gracefully, 2011) – UK Premiere. After his wife is diagnosed with a debilitating, fatal illness, Chih-hui is first in denial but then takes his other half around the country in a wheel chair. Based on the book 百萬步的愛 (A Million Steps of Love).
  • 他們在畢業的前一天爆炸 (Tāmen zài bìyè de qián yītiān bàozhà/Days We Stared at the Sun, 2011) – UK Premiere. A movie edit of a popular Taiwanese TV drama of the same name, Days We Stared at the Sun tracks a group of high school teenagers as they navigate their final, rather troublesome days of youth.
  • 五月天《追夢3DNA》(Wǔ yuè tiān “zhuī mèng 3DNA”/Mayday 3DNA, 2011) – UK Premiere & Closing Night Film. A concert film of the Taiwanese band Mayday, which has fictional, converging storylines infused as three fans make their way to the band’s concert from Guangzhou, Taipei and Shanghai.

The Taiwan Cinefest also includes a “New Talent Showcase”, i.e. “a unique short film competition for aspiring filmmakers who involve Taiwanese subject matter or talent (both behind and in front of the camera) in their films” (quote source), with an award being available for the best one.

Tickets will be on sale starting from Wednesday, April 25.

If you are not London-based, there is good news for at least some of you: the festival also has a Paris edition (May 18 and 19) and further plans for a run in LA and New York in the autumn of 2012.

Poster Gallery for the Films Screening at the Taiwanese Cinefest:

Taiwanese Cinema Love: