In the '90s, Taiwan became a world capital of cinema. Thanks to the diligence of Taiwanese archivists, you can for one week discover a hidden world of experimental treasures produced secretly under the political regime of thirty years prior.

 

Mostly lost to the sweep of history, these small, miraculous movies were birthed at the height of a repressive 40 year regime in Taiwan, when the country was under the iron grip of martial law following the founding of the People's Republic of China. Young Taiwanese artists, depressed at a seemingly permanent military junta, were eager to express themselves in as liberated, creative, and exuberant a fashion as possibly, implicitly and explicitly align themselves with the innovations of their counterparts in the West. As a group, they formed an idea of what a Taiwanese“avant-garde” could look like and carried out their own experiments in film and theater.

Half a century later, the Taiwan International Documentary Film Festival team went to great lengths to find and compile a filmography of 34 key avant-garde titles. In May 2018, the festival presented this one-of-a-kind series, screening these titles for the public for the very first time since they were produced in secrecy several decades ago.

These astonishing films offer a singular, original, and highly personal perspective on Taiwan in the 1960s — predating the country's emergence as one of the most exciting places for cinema almost three decades later. History has inevitably overlooked this era, though as we see now it is undoubtedly a time ripe with the kind of modernism that was transforming the world of art everywhere in the world at the time.

This special program has given these works a new lease of life; now we can bring them to you to explore anew.

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