Spotlight: taiwanese New wave

In the early 1980s, Taiwanese cinema was at a crossroads. Nobody was watching locally made melodramas or kung fu movies anymore, instead opting for films from Hong Kong. Taiwanese society was also rapidly changing, with soaring high-tech economic growth driving people into the concrete jungles of Taipei and the cities. To revitalize the film industry, the state-run Central Motion Picture Corporation turned to a time-tested method to revitalize national cinemas – give the reins over to young filmmakers. These filmmakers, including Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang, and Tsai Ming-liang, pursued a radical break from the previous stylistic and aesthetic traditions, favouring location shooting, long takes, and deliberate editing to reflect the rapidly changing world around them. Each responded to the alienation wrought by globalization in their own unique ways: Hou with pensive reflection, Yang with meticulous exhumation, and Tsai with melancholy detachment. With this series, Calgary Cinematheque presents five key films from one of film history’s most influential movements.

Series Films


Taipei Story (1985)
Directed by Edward Yang
Feb 6, 2020

Using the sights, sounds, and surfaces of a modernizing Taipei as his material, Edward Yang fashioned his first masterpiece Taipei Story, a piercingly insightful, multifaceted portrait of a relationship unraveling.

Dust in the Wind (1986)
Directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Feb 13, 2020

The third of Hou Hsiao-hsein’s “coming of age” trilogy, Dust in the Wind (1986) tells the universal and archetypal story of a young couple from a small village who decamp for the big city, little prepared for the struggles that they will encounter upon arrival.

terrorizers (1986)
Directed by Edward Yang
Feb 27, 2020

Edward Yang’s dissonant, mysterious third feature Terrorizers charts the trajectories, near misses, and collisions between three sets of people in Taipei who are animated by self-interest and unable (or perhaps unwilling) to connect with each other.

Daughter of the nile (1987)
Directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien
Mar 5, 2020

Daughter of the Nile (1987) centres around Lin Hsiao-yang (portrayed by pop star Lin Yang), a waitress in a fried chicken restaurant who yearns for a petty criminal and increasingly finds herself running a household without any help from the deadbeat males in her circle. Lin finds respite by retreating into the fantasy world of the Japanese comic book series Crest of the Royal Family.

Vive L’amour (1994)
Directed by Tsai Ming-liang
Mar 19, 2020

Winner of the Golden Lion at the 1994 Venice Film Festival, Vive L’Amour (1994) focuses on three individuals connected provisionally by way of an unoccupied duplex that they each use for various trysts or as a kind of isolation cell, a retreat, or a zone of suspension.