Light Field

San Francisco / March 13 - 15, 2020


Imaging the Avant-Garde: Taiwan’s Experimental Films of the 1960s 
with live musical performance by Amma Ateria

Presented with the support of the Taiwan Documentary Film Festival, the Taiwan Ministry of Culture, the Taiwan Film Institute, and SF Cinematheque
Thursday, March 28, 2019 @ 7:30pm
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (701 Mission St, San Francisco, CA)
$10 General Admission// $6 SF Cinematheque Members


Half a century ago, restrictions resulted from the political situation left a group of art and literature-loving young Taiwanese people with no other choice but to rely on translated books to imagine what Western art films were like; moreover, they carried out their own experiments on film. Half a century later, it seems that we can only rely on the fragmented written accounts that have survived and various theories to image what these lost films looked like. Unfortunately, ‘not being able see the real thing’ becomes the common thread between now and then.
     Starting from [this] ‘double imagination’ […] and based on historical documents from various sources, [TIDF] searched for the independent films made during that period. Our clues came from the artists, the Theatre Quarterly, the film students who studied abroad and those in the Hong Kong and Western literature and art worlds who were in contact with their Taiwanese counterparts. Under the unique circumstances at that time, these films might reflect the reality in some way, and we hoped that the rediscovery and revival of these works would provide us with extra materials and allow us to conduct a conversation with the 1960s, a period known for its modern, avant-garde and experimental spirit.
     From what is described above, one can see that the so-called ‘avant-garde’ actually comes from imagination, and imagination itself might be some sort of avant-garde. These film experiments of the 1960s could be seen as the ‘imaginary avant-garde’ and our ambition to revive them is a kind of ‘avant-garde imagination’. (Taiwan International Documentary Festival 2019 on Tour).

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SCREENING: Run (1966) by Han Hsiang-ning; Life Continued (1966) by Chuang Ling; Getting Ready for the Festival (1967) by Long Sih-liang; A Morning in Taipei (1964) by Pai Ching-jui; The Mountain (1966) by Richard Yao-chi Chen.