“HerStory: Women in Taiwanese Film” Series Opening Reception and Screening

In order to celebrate the opening of the Taiwan Academy, the Press Division, TECO-NY is hosting a film series in April titled “HerStory: Women in Taiwanese Film.” The series will feature five films from the 1980’s to present day with strong female leads: My Favorite Season (1985); Kuei-mei, a Woman (1986); Spring Swallow (1989); Red Dust (1990); and Yang Yang (2009). We were invited and had a chance to enjoy a great movie directed by CHANG Yi (張毅), titled “Kuei-mei, a Woman (我這樣過了一生)” with leading actress Hui-san Yang (楊惠珊).

The opening reception for the series on April 3rd attracted and was well received by close to a hundred participants from various media groups in New York, as well as individuals in the film, education and arts worlds. Director of the Press Division, Brian Su, remarked that the series “shows the history and trajectory of women’s changing status in Taiwan. In the earlier works, women are defined by their place in the domestic sphere and many of the characters feel trapped by the lives imposed upon them. In the later films, however, the female characters are much more independent, choosing their careers and deciding their destinies. Last year, the United Nations Development Program released a report analyzing the state of women’s rights in different countries. Taiwan was rated the most women friendly nation in Asia and the 4th most women friendly country in the world. Although there is always more work to be done, gender equality and women’s rights in Taiwan seem to be on the right track. The films in the series really show how far we have come over the last 30 years”.

Following the reception, there was a private screening of Kuei-mei, a Woman, followed by a conversation with Professor Jerry Carlson who directs the Cinema Studies Program in the Department of Media and Communication Arts at CUNY and is an expert in narrative theory and global independent films. In regards to the evening’s film, Professor Carlson pointed out that Kuei-mei, a Woman “uses the story of a family to show the ideological and societal changes that Taiwanese people were going through and becoming comfortable with, including but not limited to women’s rights. The lead character, beautifully played by Hui-san Yang, isn’t just a martyred heroin typical of melodramas. Instead, you see a woman dealing with harsh realities of her time and working her way through hardships to finally thrive and flourish.”

The schedule for the remainder of the festival is as follows:

April 10th at 6pm: Spring Swallow

April 12th at 6pm: Red Dust

April 17th at 6pm: My Favorite Season

April 19th at 6pm: Yang Yan

April 24th at 7pm: Kuei-mei, a Woman

All films are free and open to the public and will be shown in the basement auditorium of the TECO-NY building (1 E 42nd St.) in 16mm format.

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