You are here
In 1994 HUANG Hua-cheng showed his 8mm film Experiment 002 during a seminar titled ‘Theater Quarterly and Me’ at the Chinese Taipei Film Archive. This film is a recording of the seminar, documenting how the film was played and the seminar proceedings. HUANG passed away in 1996, and his earlier films have been lost.
Theater Quarterly leaped on stage in 1965 with a literal bang by breaking a fragile plaster gong and the performance of two absurdist theatre pieces, The Prophet and Waiting for Godot. This film interviews those involved in the performance and recreates the plaster gong while weaving in archival footage.
Originally written by HUANG Hua-cheng, the script centres on the dialogue between a couple sitting in the audience of a play. When this piece was first shown in 1965, director Richard Yao-chi CHEN reworked it with the actors on stage. 51 years later, actors CHUANG Ling and LIU Ying-shang are invited back to the theatre to recreate the groundbreaking original.
A student secretly works a night job to pay off his father’s gambling debts, and as a result constantly dozes off during classes in the day. When the teacher investigates, a series of family disputes ensues. This is MOU’s first film after graduating from Taiwan Art College. When it was first shown, it drew much criticism and debate.
Tong and Yong-sheng are inseparable playmates, but after Yong-sheng dies in an accident, Tong falls into a dark spiral. At the time, this film was banned due to its homosexual overtones and ideology, while some felt that certain segments drew comparison with CHEN Ying-zhen’s short story The Noodle Stall.
Two warriors prepare for a duel; they remain steadfast even as the audience roars.
This hand-drawn celluloid animation features a northern Chinese town, where a mother mouse stricken by hunger and poverty longs for a piece of rice cake on Chinese New Year’s Eve.
HUANG’s collage compilation of Hong Kong commercial film reels. The programme notes at the time stated, ‘Actors: more than a dozen Shaw Brothers stars; we regret that the film cannot be shown due to copyright issues.’
A slow motion film (shot at 64 fps, played at 16 fps) of actor CHUANG Ling drinking coffee and smoking.
HUANG originally intended to use nine screens showing nine different films simultaneously.
Taiwan Spectrum｜Imagining the Avant-garde: Film Experiments of the 1960s
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 the ‘double imagination’ described above and based on historical documents from various sources, we search for the independent films made during that period. Our clues come 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 hope 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’.
Acknowledgment: CHANG Chao-tang & CHANG Shih-lun
A Dream in the Afternoon/ Dream of Afternoon
CHEN Ying-zhen,LI Chi-shan,LIU Da-zen
Experiment 002 (Extracted from Video Documentation of the Symposium of "Theatre Quarterly")
Getting Ready for the Festival
Hong Kong Commercial Compilation
I Didn't Dare to Tell You
Liu Pi-Chia (Digital Restoration)
Modern Poetry Exhibition/1966
Modern, Popularity, Sophistication, Wedding
The Archer (Digital Restoration)
The Mountain (Digital Restoration)
The Sword of the Great Silence
Through the Years (Digital Restoration)
ZHONG Zhi-yang's 8mm Animation