Aperture 2019 – Taiwan Avant-garde



Poetic Voices:

A Trip Through the Taiwanese Avant-garde of the 1960s 


5 June, Close-Up Cinema, London


back to Aperture 2019 homepage>>


The 1960s marked a period in Taiwanese film history, which for the most part was dominated by mainstream popular Taiwanese language films and strong censorship, amid a repressive political climate. However, a growing movement of young intellectuals and artists, increasingly influenced by Western avant-garde movements, began experimenting with film, challenging the boundaries of cinema, and presenting their own bold responses to the concept of the avant-garde.

The films in this programme were the subject of intensive research conducted by the Taiwan International Documentary Film Festival curatorial team and were presented at the festival last year. These unearthed works defined a period of cutting-edge experimental moving image within Taiwanese cinema. Formed of fragments and traces, some were without sound, and these works will be shown with an accompanying soundtrack.

These discoveries were made thanks to some of these surviving artists, now in their 70s and 80s, and other collaborators around the world. This programme presented by Aperture, hinges on two key figures within this movement, Richard Chen, one of Taiwan’s most reputed documentary filmmakers, and Mou Tun-fei, an often under-acknowledged yet ground-breaking Taiwanese filmmaker.

Richard Chen’s The Mountain portrays three art students, one of whom is Mou Tun-fei, as they discuss their place as aspiring artists within the current political climate of Taiwan and their views on the Vietnam War, all set against a backdrop of The Mamas and the Papas song California Dreamin’. Mou Tun-fei later went on to direct The End of the Track, a film which was banned for its sensitive political nature and homosexual undertones.

With thanks to Taiwan Film Institute for supporting these screenings

In partnership with:



Shorts Programme + intro by Dr Victor Fan, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, King’s College London

Accompanying music soundtrack courtesy of Rocket Girl


Richard Yao-Chi Chen, Taiwan 1966, Mandarin + English subtitles, 20 min, restored from 16mm


Pai Ching-jui, Taiwan 1964, 20 min, silent, restored from 35mm


Chang Chao-tang, Taiwan 1966, 12 min, silent, restored from 8mm


Chuang Ling, Taiwan 1966, 14 min, silent, restored from 16mm

6pm, Wed 5 June: Close-Up Cinema, London

book tickets





Mou Tun-fei, Taiwan 1970, Mandarin + English subtitles, 91 mins, restored from 35mm

Banned during the Kuomintang regime for its homosexual undercurrents and for its political overtones, The End of the Track is a landmark in Taiwanese cinema. Friends Tong and Yong-sheng are inseparable. When Yong-sheng dies in an accident, Tong’s life plunges into darkness.

8pm, Wed 5 June: Close-Up Cinema, London

book tickets



Taipei Stories: 1-30 June 2019, Close-Up, London

In parallel to Aperture Asia & Pacific Film Festival’s focus on Taiwanese cinema, Close-Up is presenting a programme of thirteen films, by three masters of Taiwanese New Cinema, set in and around Taipei throughout the 20th and 21st Century – from Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Edward Yang and Tsai Ming-liang.