Taiwan's Golden Horse a holdout for uncensored Chinese cinema

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Taiwan's Golden Horse a holdout for uncensored Chinese cinema
Chinese-American actress Bai Ling gestures during a press conference organised by Taiwan’s Golden Horse Film Awards Committee in Taipei on November 25, 2021. Sam Yeh / AFP.

by Amber Wang with Holmes Chan and Su Xinqi in Hong Kong

TAIPEI.- With no mainstream Chinese films showing for the third year running, Taiwan's top film festival may have lost some lustre, but directors and critics say it remains a crucial bulwark against Beijing's censors.

Long dubbed the Chinese-language "Oscars", the Golden Horse Film Awards will kick off in Taipei on Saturday -- again without the legion of Chinese filmmakers and stars who once used to walk the red carpet.

It ran afoul of Beijing when a Taiwanese director called for the island's independence in an acceptance speech at the 2018 ceremony, triggering an official boycott the following year.

China claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory to be retaken one day, by force if necessary.

There were no mainland films in the 2019 nomination list after China's national film board ordered directors and actors to boycott the event.

Several Hong Kong films dropped out while international sponsors cut ties with the awards that year under pressure from Beijing.

While plans to boycott were not spelt out the following two years, commercial mainland cinema and some advertisers have continued to steer clear.

Hong Kong director Jun Li, whose social drama "Drifting" is a frontrunner at this year's awards, said it was "obvious" that strained relations between China and Taiwan have affected the awards.

"Anyone would be lying if they tell you they don't feel the tension," he told AFP.

Li's film has the most nominations at 12, including best film and best director, and it tackles Hong Kong's notorious inequality with a story of homeless people taking authorities to court.

'Courting trouble'

Chinese films once dominated Golden Horse nominations but last year and this year saw just two films from the mainland in the running for best documentary and best animated short film.

According to organisers, over 200 Chinese and Hong Kong films submitted for competition this year, although film industry sources say they were mostly independent productions unlikely to hit theatres.

Analysts say mainstream Chinese cinema stayed away for fear of repercussions.

"For mega-production Chinese commercial movies, submitting to the Golden Horse awards can be courting trouble," Wonder Weng, from the Taiwan Film Critics Society, told AFP.

Weng added that the Golden Roosters -- the mainland's own premier film awards -- was being held this year on the same night as the Golden Horse bash.

"This apparently sends a message that there is a rivalry," he said.

Golden Horse continues to nominate the kind of films that would never get past China's censors.

This year two Hong Kong films that explore the city's 2019 pro-democracy protests, as well as a Chinese documentary about Tibet, are nominated.

A Chinese animation seen as a metaphor for Hong Kong's unrest and Beijing's authoritarian rule has also been given a nod.

China has imposed a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong, once a thriving cinema hub, to crush dissent, and new mainland style political censorship rules have been introduced for films.

In one recent example, authorities blocked the screening of Taiwanese short film "Piglet Piglet" unless scenes relating to the island's 2020 elections were removed, which the director refused.

'Free outlet'

Film critic Weng says the Golden Horse awards "sets the benchmark" for Chinese-language cinema as the only platform open to all subjects.

Last year, two Hong Kong films that cast an uncomfortable spotlight on China won accolades, and one of the winners proclaimed support for democracy activists in an acceptance speech read by a representative.

"I think the award has now become a free outlet especially for Hong Kong movies that cannot be distributed in Hong Kong," said Hong Kong director Kiwi Chow, who has a nomination this year.

"It gives film producers a way out under the current political climate," he told AFP.

Chow's "Revolution of Our Times," which takes its name from a pro-democracy protest slogan, is contending for best documentary and has never been shown commercially in Hong Kong.

He has also sold the rights and masters overseas to avoid Hong Kong's new censorship and national security laws.

Fellow Hong Kongers Rex Ren and Lam Sum are vying for best new director for their feature film "May You Stay Forever Young", which is also set against the backdrop of the pro-democracy protests.

Another critics' top pick for best documentary is "Dark Red Forest" by Chinese director Jin Huaqing, on how some 20,000 Tibetan nuns are forced to give up practising their faith under China's rule.

"I am gratified to see that the (Golden Horse) awards have managed to keep their courage," Chow told AFP. "I think that's also what art is meant to pursue."

© Agence France-Presse

Today's News

November 26, 2021

Art Basel Miami Beach returns, smaller but ready to party

Egypt unveils Pharaonic 'Rams Road' at Karnak Temple

One of the world's largest private collections of Nepalese, Bhutanese and Tibetan Art to be offered at auction

New restoration works shore-up Iraq's historic Arch of Ctesiphon

Her art reads the land in deep time

The Royal Academy of Arts presents an exhibition of architectural photographs by Hélène Binet

From crypto to Covid: Why auction prices are rocketing

National Geographic 'Afghan girl' evacuated to Italy

First major survey in Germany of Zanele Muholi opens at Gropius Bau

Early 17th century picture revealed as portrait of important historian's family linked to Berkeley Castle

Watts Contemporary Gallery exhibits new work by 14 contemporary British printmakers

Essence Harden joins California African American Museum as visual arts curator

Art Rotterdam 2022: 23rd edition will be held from 10 to 13 February

Cartier aquamarine line bracelet sells for £52,080 at Dix Noonan Webb

"Tim Silver, In-between Days" opens at Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney

If you liked the book better than the movie, here's a historic auction for you: Firsts Into Film

Heritage Auctions to spend a year offering comicdom's longest-running series

Jacqueline Poncelet and MIMA Middlesbrough win £100k Freelands Award

Haruki Murakami unpacks his T-shirt collection

Why Africa is dominating literary prizes in 2021

Nationalistic war film smashes Chinese box office records

Taiwan's Golden Horse a holdout for uncensored Chinese cinema

Bolsonaro against Brazil resuming carnival

Handmaid's Tale author Margaret Atwood on Canada stamp

Blaux Heatcore review: A must-read about this heater!

Mark These Places to See When Visiting Events in Springfield IL This Weekend

How To Make Your Ecommerce Business Sound And Look Profitable

Evaluating a Marketing Software Landscape

Product Launch Marketing That Gets Results

What Is Direct Distribution?

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit
Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful