Taiwan Film Days opens with “Din Tao”

Excerpt from news release:

San Francisco, CA – The San Francisco Film Society in association with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in San Francisco presents Taiwan Film Days, October 12–14 at New People Cinema, 1746 Post Street. This exciting series focuses on the best of contemporary Taiwanese cinema and provides Bay Area audiences with unique opportunities to view bold new Taiwanese films and engage with visionary filmmakers. Now in its fourth year, Taiwan Film Days is an essential part of the Film Society’s Fall Season and a cinematic highlight for the local Chinese-speaking community and bold cinephiles of all stripes.

“I’m particularly excited to present this year’s Taiwan Film Days, and I’m continually impressed by the variety of quality cinema coming from that region right now,” said SFFS Programmer Sean Uyehara. “Once again, we must laud our wonderful partners at TECO for supporting this endeavor at every step of the way. Without their persistence, care and collaborative spirit, this would not be the successful and fulfilling enterprise that it is.”

The San Francisco Film Society has long been a proponent of Taiwanese cinema and has played a pioneering role in introducing it to Bay Area audiences through the San Francisco International Film Festival, which has shown over 40 Taiwanese films over the years. Works of leading figures—Hou Hsiao-hsien, Tsai Ming-liang and Edward Yang—have been featured, and prominent actor Lee Kang-sheng was a Festival guest in 1998. In January 1999 the Film Society partnered with the Asian Art Museum to present the unique retrospective An Unfolding Horizon: the Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien.

From opener Din Tao: Leader of the Parade with it’s charming blend of the traditional and the contemporary, to the feature film version of the ultra-popular television melodrama Days We Stared at the Sun, Taiwan Film Days 2012 showcases the breadth of style and subject of this vibrant filmmaking industry, while providing a snapshot of the current moment in Taiwanese society and culture. In addition to the six new films in the TFD lineup, Edward Yang’s epic 1991 film A Brighter Summer Day—recently ranked #84 in the Sight & Sound critic’s poll of the greatest films of all time—will be presented in a newly-restored 35mm print.

For complete program information, visit: sffs.org/cinema

Friday, October 12 3:00 pm Jump! Ashin Lin Yu-hsien (Fan Kun Pa A Hsin, 2011) As a young teen, Ashin, solidly played by Eddie Peng (Hear Me, TFD 2010), is enamored of the athletic life; training and competing in gymnastics gives him focus and drive. When family and work responsibilities take him away from this love, Ashin and his best friend Pickle (Lawrence Ko, Honey Pupu, TFD 2011) descend into the rudderless world of street fighting and drugs. Remarkably based on the true story of director Lin Yu-hsien’s older gymnast brother, Jump! Ashin fuses moving drama with inventive action and athletic sequences and was a smash hit in Taiwan, playing in theaters for three straight months in 2011. Written by Wang Kuo-kuang. Photographed by Hsia Shao-yu. With Eddie Peng, Lawrence Ko, Chen Han-dian, Lin Chen-shi. 126 min. In Mandarin and Taiwanese with subtitles. Distributed by Central Motion Picture Corp. 6:30 pm Din Tao: Leader of the Parade    OPENING NIGHT FILM Fung Kai (Chen Tao, 2012) Ah-Tai, a rock n’ roll guitarist with dreams of stardom returns home to rural Taichung and renews a bitter conflict with his estranged father, who trains disadvantaged youths in a traditional form of drumming known as Din-Tao. Ah-Tai initially wants nothing to do with this ritual, but is sucked into performing with the troupe when a rival from his youth challenges him. In the process, Ah-Tai transforms the company with his contemporary musical style. Based on the true story of the Jyou-Tian Folk Drum And Arts Group, the film features real-life members of the ensemble and promises a drama-filled and entertaining romp. Written by Fung Kai. Photographed by Chris Hsin. With Alan Kuo, Huang Hung-sheng, Crystal Lin. 123 min. In Mandarin and Taiwanese with subtitles. Distributed by iFilm Co. 8:30 pm Opening Night party with complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres at Superfrog Gallery at New People. 9:30 pm Din Tao: Leader of the Parade   Saturday, October 13 1:30 pm Joyful Reunion Tsao Jui-yuan (Yin Shih Nan Niu – Hao Yuan Yo Hao Chin, 2011) From the producer of Eat Drink Man Woman, this humorous and thoughtful multigenerational film tells a delicate story of social classes, careers and romance, while turning an especially attentive eye towards depicting the importance (and joys) of cooking and eating. When master chef Tang Shize announces his desire to retire and sell his business, his family and employees attempt to prepare for big changes. When outsider Pai Ping arrives and infuses a nervous energy into the formal restaurant environment with her brash, sometimes inappropriate directness, her uneasy fit belies a deeper relationship to the film’s setting than one might initially suspect. Written by Neko Xu, Chen Shih-chieh, Tan Miao, Tu Hsiang-wen, Wang Tzu-ang, Yankee Zho. Photographed by Ching Ting-chang. With Lan Zheng-long, Gua Ah Leh, Chang Hsiao-chuan, Kenneth Tsang, Huang Xuan, Huo Siyan, Jiang Mengjie, Long Lan Zheng, Li Qin, Kenneth Tsang, Yang Yang. 107 min. In Mandarin with subtitles. Distributed by Creative Century Entertainment Co. 4:00 pm Days We Stared at the Sun Cheng Yu-chieh (Ta Men Tsai Pi Yeh Te Chien Yi Tien Pao Tsa, 2011) This delicious melodrama, bursting with twists that are shocking, terrible and often incredibly unlikely, is the feature-length film version of the popular television series of the same name. Set in the world of high school, the film primarily focuses on two boys who find kinship in their shared pressures of family life, bullying, drug dependency, poverty and corruption. The wild combination of the teenage angst one might find in Beverly Hills, 90210 with these boys’ predilection towards handguns proves to be as outrageous as it is undeniably appealing. The only thing to do is grab some popcorn and settle in for the ride. Written by Er Mu, Cheng Yu-chieh. Photographed by Liao Ching-yao. With Huang Yuan, Wu Jian-ho, Zhang Jia-yu, Teresa Daley. 110 min. In Mandarin with subtitles. Distributed by Hank’s Films Co. 6:30 pm Jump! Ashin  see 10/12 9:30 pm Ye Zai    International Premiere Tseng Ying-ting (Ye zai, 2012) Scrappy and taut, this film infiltrates the underworld of illegal immigration and those who exploit it. Ye-zai is one of the most successful and resourceful workers in the new trade of hunting down and turning in illegal aliens and their employers for a reward from the Taiwanese government. One day, his estranged brother calls him to let him know that his father’s foreign and illegally employed caregiver has gone missing. Suddenly thrust into the position of the illegal employers he hunts, Ye-zai must find the missing caregiver within three days or risk losing the position he’s established for himself after years of hard work. Written by Tseng Ying-ting, Yuli Chen. Photographed by Hsu Fu-hsiang. With Shih Ming-shuai, Apiwong Sajee, Tai Po, Huang Cai-yi, Wu Pong-fong 81 min. In Mandarin, Taiwanese and Thai with subtitles. Distributed by Public Television Service, Taiwan.

Sunday, October 14 12:00 pm Ye Zai  see 10/13 2:00 pm A Brighter Summer Day Edward Yang (Ku Ling Chieh Shao Nien Sha Jen Shih Chien, 1991) Never before released in the United States and unavailable on DVD, Edward Yang’s extraordinary memory film stretches tautly over four hours of screen time and more than 100 speaking parts. Set in the early 1960s and inspired by the true story of Taiwan’s first juvenile homicide case, the film follows rebellious teenager Xiao Si’r as he comes of age amidst rival street gangs and the “White Terror” witch hunts of Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang government. Few movies more readily call to mind the great, sprawling novels of the 19th century and their portraits of ordinary individuals caught in the maelstrom of a changing society. —Film Society of Lincoln Center Written by Hung Hung, Lai Ming-tang, Alex Yang, Edward Yang. Photographed by Li Huigong, Zhang Longyu. With Chang Chen, Chang Kuo-chu, Elaine Jin, Lisa Yang, Wong Chi-zan, Lawrence Ko, Tan Zhi-gang, Lin Hong-ming. 237 min. In Mandarin with subtitles. Distributed by Cinema Foundation.

7:00 pm Blowfish    U.S. Premiere Lee Chi-yuarn (Ho Tun, 2011) From director Lee Chi-yuarn (an acclaimed poet in Taiwan) comes the story of Xiao-zhun, who, when she catches her boyfriend cheating on her, decides to find a better home for her pet blowfish by offering it in an online auction. A young baseball coach, alone and waiting for his wife to return to him from yet another extramarital excursion, takes part in the auction and purchases the blowfish. When Xiao-zhun delivers the fish, they form an instant connection and strike up an affair of their own, but lurking all the while are the deep and unspoken scars of their former lives. Written by Lee Chi-yuarn, Vicci Pan. Photographed by John Han. With Vicci Pan, Wu Kang-jen, Lu Yi-ching, Angel Yao. 88 min. In Mandarin with subtitles. Distributed by Media Luna. 9:00 pm Joyful Reunion  see 10/13

Film tickets $11 for SFFS members, $13 general, $12 seniors, students and persons with disabilities; Opening Night film and party $20 for SFFS members, $25 general; Film Society CineVoucher 10-Packs $105 for SFFS members, $125 general. Fall Season Cinevisa $450. Box office opens September 4 for members and September 6 for the general public online at sffs.org.

Taiwan Film Days is sponsored by Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in San Francisco, Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau, airline sponsor EVA Air and media sponsors Chinatown Newspaper, San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Bay Guardian.

To request screeners and interviews contact bproctor@sffs.org. For photos and press materials visit: sffs.org/pressdownloads.

San Francisco Film Society Building on a legacy of more than 50 years of bringing the best in world cinema to the Bay Area, the San Francisco Film Society is a national leader in exhibition, education and filmmaker services.

The Film Society presents 365 days of exhibition each year, reaching a total audience of 130,000 people. Its acclaimed education program introduces international, independent and documentary cinema and media literacy to more than 10,000 teachers and students and presents more than 100 classes and workshops annually. Through Filmmaker360, the Film Society’s filmmaker services program, essential creative and business services and funding totaling millions of dollars are provided to deserving filmmakers of all levels.

The Film Society seeks to elevate all aspects of film culture, offering a wide range of activities that engage emotions, inspire action, change perceptions and advance knowledge. A 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, it is largely donor and member supported. Patronage and membership provides discounted prices, access to grants and residencies, private events and a wealth of other benefits.

For more information visit sffs.org.

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