SPOTLIGHT TAIWAN FILM FESTIVAL
Exploring Taiwan, Taiwanese-ness and Taiwanese identity through cinema
Friday 11 & Saturday 12 April, 2014
Leiden University College The Hague
Anna van Buerenplein 301
FREE ADMISSION- Registration is advised for the opening reception (please see program below for details)
Over the past 30 years, Taiwan film has had an outstanding record of achievement at major film festivals, particularly those in Europe. Our Taiwan film festival under the title ‘Performing Taiwanese Identity’, to be held on 11th and 12th April 2014, follows up on this success. It has two objectives. The first objective is to introduce the Leiden University Students and the general public in the Netherlands to Taiwanese cinema. The second objective is to have these film screenings as a key platform for understanding modern Taiwan, especially the issues of Taiwanese identity.
This film festival is primarily an exploration of some of the ways in which ‘Taiwan’, ‘Taiwanese-ness’, or ‘Taiwanese identity’ have been staged, articulated, and negotiated in the cinema.
Identity is often seen as being the most powerful and essential part of our political life. It allows individuals to define themselves. Since the early 1990s, people in Taiwan have increasingly claimed to be ‘Taiwanese’, and have sought international recognition of Taiwan’s status as an independent sovereign state. The politics of identity in Taiwan, whether cultural or national, fictive or real, have manifested themselves in various ways. These range from intellectual debates over the history of the island, to the performance of identity in everyday life such as eating habits, and to the expression of identity in the political arena, where political parties or movements strive to enrich their political projects with proposals on issues related to collective identification. This film festival is primarily an exploration of some of the ways in which ‘Taiwan’, ‘Taiwanese-ness’, or ‘Taiwanese identity’ have been staged, articulated, and negotiated in the cinema.
Art & Politics
Cinemas have emerged as some of the most important cultural agents today. They can reach a broad segment of the population, supplying what millions of spectators are expecting: entertainment, moving stories, information, and so on and so forth. They elaborate the meaning of subjects and provoking emotional responses among the audience. It is crucial to note that films are not only aesthetic representations of social realities, but more importantly, they are tools of political intervention.
Let’s say: Film illustrates past, present, or future events through narration, visual aesthetics, and cinematic imagination. They establish visual icons of historical and social reality, and contribute to the development of the viewer’s political consciousness.
Films, whether documentaries or feature films, may attempt to tell a story in a seemingly objective manner, but in fact they each carry a perspective or an ideology, either trying to confirm existing images of social reality, or alternatively creating subversive and new images. Accordingly, the cinematic representation cannot be reduced to an artistic illustration of a historical or social reality. It creates a reality of its own.
In this way, films influence politics just as politics have an impact on cinematic representations. Cinema can be a political tool to legitimise or reinforce the status quo, hegemony, and domination. Or, alternatively, it can be a site of social change, political resistance, and emancipation. Cinema is more than entertainment: it is the interventions of the mind, though it does not necessarily lead to the reactions intended by filmmakers or producers. In short, films move political questions and negotiations into the visual sphere. Cinema creates a bond between art and politics, and becomes an essential part of the public sphere.
Cinema is more than entertainment: it is the interventions of the mind, though it does not necessarily lead to the reactions intended by filmmakers or producers
We have selected four films for this film festival. They are all either directly and indirectly related to the performance of identity from different standpoints, and they touch upon the triangular relationship between Taiwan, China, and Japan. Each screening will feature a follow-up Q&A session with invited scholars.
Along with the film screening, we will be hosting an exhibition of five series of photographic works by female photographers from Taiwan at Leiden University College from 7th to 18th April 2014. The photos in the exhibition cover the range of portraiture, humanitarian concerns, landscape, aboriginal culture and culture in general. With close attention paid during both shooting and arrangement, these series of pictures are used to create photographic narratives, much as a director might compose a film montage.
We hope that this film festival, together with the exhibition, will offer the audience a chance to explore the various ways in which Taiwanese identity is interpreted, negotiated, and shaped through arts.
Program Film Festival
During both days of the festival, the LUC student bar is open for drinks and snacks
Friday 11 April 2014
Saturday 12 April 2014