Tales of Taipei

International Premiere | In Competition

 

Guest star:
Amy MA, producer
Bowie TSANG, producer

 

Before the law of diminishing returns set in, I was a fan of the Cities of Love film series.
I was intrigued by seeing famous filmmakers offer their own takes on different global metropoles. The series fizzled out before it got a chance to tackle an Asian city, but there have been plenty of other omnibus films – like Tokyo!, the Golden Horse festival-backed 10+10, Taipei Factory and the Ten Years series – to fill the void.

The brainchild of producers Bowie Tsang and Amy Ma, Tales of Taipei feels like the unofficial Taipei entry of the Cities of Love series. Like the other entries in that series, it’s an omnibus film featuring vignettes about all forms of love in a single city. Directed by promising young filmmakers from Taiwan and beyond, the episodes were shot separately, then seamlessly stitched together by Hong Kong’s Wenders Li.

Like most omnibus films, Tales of Taipei hops from genre to genre, which means it really does have a little something for everyone. For those looking for more traditional romances, there are three meet-cute stories: Liu Chuan-hui’s Let Me Be Your Baby, featuring pop stars SHOU and Julia Wu as two down-on-their-luck musicians who meet in a betel nut stand; Remii Huang’s Hold My Beer, about a humorous encounter between two young clubbers who may or may not have met before (pop star 9m88 and Bad Education’s Berant Zhu); and Man in Love director Yin Chen-hao’s The Good Fortune, about an adorable and possibly romantic encounter between an expat from Hong Kong (Ronald Cheng) and a gambler (Chang Chen).

For those looking for more off-kilter romances, Midsummer Serpent by Joseph Chen (Little Big Women) offers an unusual love story that cleverly brings the ancient Chinese legend of the White Snake to a modern setting. For her directorial debut, actress Lee Sinje offers Breeder, a stylistic mood piece about a woman (Karena Lam) caught between an old flame and a new love. Lee is also the star of the opening short Farewell, My Tamsui by Chong Keat Aun (Snow in Midsummer), about a Southeast Asian woman who bids a heartbreaking farewell to her late Taiwanese husband.

There are also stories of familial love: Norris Wong’s pseudo-autobiographical Papa in Law sees My Prince Edward star Stephy Tang in a sweet short film about a Hong Kong woman who bonds with her Taiwanese boyfriend’s father while taking him to get his Covid vaccine. Nepal’s Pawo Choyning Dorji (The Monk and the Gun) also shows a moving bonding moment between a teenage girl (American Girl’s Caitlin Fang) and her grandfather in Good Luck to You. Fang’s character also appears briefly in Rachid Hami’s The Imaginary Child, about how an unexpected pregnancy threatens a relationship between a Frenchman (Karim Leklou) and a single mother (Sandrine Pinna).

Finally, the film ends with Paper Round, a strange tale of a deliveryman (rock star Wu Bai) of a soon-to-be-shuttered newspaper who has a supernatural encounter in an abandoned building.

The limitations of the omnibus format may mean that filmmakers have very little time to leave a deep impression, but Tales of Taipei nevertheless offers a fascinating showcase of promising filmmakers and marquee stars who are willing to spend a few days in roles that are out of their comfort zones. All in all, Tales of Taipei is a lot of fun, and a great illustration of the diverse voices that Taiwan cinema embraces today.

Kevin Ma
Film director: Omnibus
Year: 2023
Running time: 116'
Country: Taiwan
30/04 - 9:00 AM
Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
30-04-2024 9:00 30-04-2024 10:56Europe/Rome Tales of Taipei Far East Film Festival Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da UdineCEC Udine cec@cecudine.org
Online in Italy until the end of the Festival

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