Taipei Film Festival Mixing It Up With Bowie, Hitchcock, and Léaud

Taipei Film Festival Mixing It Up With Bowie, Hitchcock, and Léaud
Photo Credit: Studio Brussel

What you need to know

A prominent venue for the premiering and screening of emerging Asian films, this year's Taipei Film Festival features a series of global icons from the movie industry.

Despite the turmoil caused by the decision of its chairperson to abruptly step down last year, the 2016 Taipei Film Festival will open as scheduled on June 30, and so far it seems to be doing all right, with much to look forward to.

Now in its 18th year, the festival has become one of the most prominent film festivals in Taiwan, screening around 160 films from over 40 countries each year. This year’s lineup includes Crosscurrent (2016), as well as series featuring Alfred Hitchcock, David Bowie, and Jean-Pierre Léaud.

With support by the British Council, the Taipei Film Festival is showcasing three of the nine Hitchcock silent films restored by the BFI National Archive: The Lodger (1926), Downhill (1927) and Blackmail (1929). The last two screenings in the program will be accompanied with live piano performances by John Sweeney, a British-based pianist who has played for silent films since 1990.

Photo Credit: drmvm1CC BY-ND 2.0
Jean-Pierre Léaud in 400 Blows (1959).

Movie buffs can also look forward to spending an afternoon watching Jean-Pierre Léaud’s debut 400 Blows (1959) with Léaud sitting in the audience. The screening will be one of the eight films in the Jean-Pierre Léaud Programme highlighting the acclaimed French actor’s work beyond his role as Antoine Doinel in the series of five films by Francois Truffaut.

The festival also pays tribute to David Bowie, who passed away this January. Portraying Bowie as more than a music legend, the series of six films shows the star’s work as an actor (The Man Who Fell To Earth, 1979) and how Bowie has been presented as an icon of pop culture in various movies.

Other than foreign films, the Taipei Film Festival has also been an important venue for premieres and screenings of Asian movies. Crosscurrent will be making its Taiwan premiere at the festival after winning the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution at the 2016 Berlinale. The film just made its North American premiere at MoMA in the retrospective of Taiwanese cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-bing (李屏賓), who is also chairman of the Taipei Film Festival.

Sections such as the International New Talent Competition and Taipei Film Awards Competition are also worth keeping an eye out for emerging young filmmakers from around the globe.

The Taipei Film Festival runs from June 30 to July 16. See here for more info.