Skip to main content

[Mar 7 – Mar 19] Taiwan Film Series: Political Violence, Historical Trauma (Live & On-Demand)

March 1, 2022

We are pleased to announce that the Taiwan Film Series: Political Violence, Historical Trauma, co-organized with the University of Cambridge, will take place online between March 7-19, 2022. The film series will feature two documentaries, one feature-length film, and one short that revolve around the theme of violence, trauma, and memories: Taiwan Black Movies [台灣黑電影], Absent Without Leave [不即不離], Super Citizen Ko [超級大國民], and Letter #69 [第六十九信].

Registrations to all the screenings and events are required but FREE. Please find the detailed program below and online at

Due to copyright issues, films are open to the US and the UK only.

Mar 8 at 9 AM PT (IN-PERSON AT CAMBRIDGE & LIVESTREAM) | Register to join online
Opening Panel: Taiwan Film Series: Political Violence, Historical Trauma

Opening panel with Rachel Leow (Associate Professor, University of Cambridge), Po-hsi Chen (Post-Doctoral Fellow in Taiwan Studies, University of Cambridge), and moderated by Nick Stember (Ph.D. Candidate, University of Cambridge).

Mar 16 at 5:15 PM PT (LIVESTREAM) | Register to join online
Taiwan Black Movies Special Screening plus live Q&A with Dir. HOU Chi-Jan

5:15 PM PT
Special screening of Taiwan Black Movies (duration: 60 min)
6:30 PM PT
Post-screening Q&A with Dir. HOU Chi-JanCHO Tingwu (Ph.D. in Cinema Studies, New York University), and moderated by Ellen Chang (Director of Arts & Culture, UW Taiwan Studies)
*Q&A will be recorded and available on-demand till the end of the film festival

Mar 7 – Mar 9 (VIDEO ON DEMAND) | Register to watch online
Taiwan Black Movies 台灣黑電影 (HOU Chi-Jan 侯季然, 2005)
61min ∣ Color ∣ Documentary ∣ Mandarin, Taiwanese with English subtitles

This incisive documentary brings back to life a Taiwanese film genre that was given up for dead. In the early 1980s, a time of strict censorship and political repression in Taiwan, an unexpected trend in “social realist” crime films suddenly flourished in the corner of exploitation cinema. Given momentum by sensational dramas featuring female avengers, these films marked an interesting counterpoint to the rise of Taiwan New Cinema, the definitive new wave movement in Taiwan’s film history.

Mar 10 – Mar 12 (VIDEO ON DEMAND) | Register to watch online
Absent Without Leave 不即不離 (LAU Kek-Huat 廖克發, 2016)
84min|Color|Documentary|Mandarin, Hokkien, Malay, with English subtitles

Malaysian-born, Taiwan-based filmmaker LAU Kek-Huat became interested in his grandfather’s life as he tried to get to know more about his long-absent father. After his grandfather died young, his name and past became a family taboo. It turns out that he was involved with the Malaysian Communist Party (MCP), a group synonymous with terrorism in Malaysia’s history. But what remains of this historical taboo reveals the flickering pasts of those who once sacrificed themselves for their beliefs.

Mar 14 – Mar 16 (VIDEO ON DEMAND) | Register to watch online
Letter #69 第六十九信 (LIN Hsin-I 林欣怡, 2016)
20min ∣ Color ∣ Short ∣ Mandarin, with English subtitles

Buried in the Liuzhangli cemetery are 201 victims executed during the White Terror. One of them is SHI Shui-Huan. In the 1950s, SHI was imprisoned for hiding her left-wing brother behind her dormitory ceiling. During her imprisonment, she sent out a total of 68 letters to her family. The last letter, letter #69, was left unfinished by the time of her execution, and was never sent to her family. But the things she didn’t get to say are now brought to light.

Mar 17 – Mar 19 (VIDEO ON DEMAND) | Register to watch online
Super Citizen Ko 超級大國民 (WAN Jen 萬仁, 1994)
120min ∣ Color ∣ feature film ∣ Mandarin, Hokkien, with English subtitles

The film narrates the political history of Taiwan over a period of 50 years, following the imposition of martial law in 1947 and ‘The White Terror.’ Suspected of being a leftist, KO spent around 30 years in prison and institutions, always obsessively worrying about the fate of his best friend CHEN executed in the 1950s. Their friendship and CHEN’s fate is chronicled in flashback. Soon after his release, KO goes in search of the truth and a part of himself. Only when he learns the truth is he able to pay his respects.