Tag Archives: Joyful Reunion

Taiwan Film Days

Taiwan Film Days focuses on the best contemporary Taiwanese cinema and provides Bay Area audiences with a unique opportunity to view bold new Taiwanese films and engage with visionary filmmakers. Marking its fifth year, San Francisco Film Society’s (SFFS) programmer Sean Uyehara said that without a doubt, this year’s Taiwan Film Days is the most eclectic yet. Included in the line-up are films already screened at celebrated international film festivals such as Cannes, Toronto and Locarno.

The photos below are a sample from the TFD over the last five years. This year’s festival has relocated to the Vogue Theater in the Marina District. Despite the new location, the festival has grown and has proved to be the best TFD yet.


The 5th Taiwan Film Days at the Vogue Theater in San Francisco (November 2013)


Fung Kai (left), director of Din Tao, takes questions from the audience. SFFS’s programmer Sean Uyehara at his right (October 2012)


TECO chief, Bruce Fuh (center), talks to Ted Hope (left), then executive director of SFFS, and Amanda Todd, SFFS’s development manager at the TFD reception (October 2012)


Tsao Jui-yuan (right), director of Joyful Reunion, is greeted by the audience (October 2012)


Manfred Peng, TECO’s press director (right), stands with Wang Chi-tsai (director of Formosa Mambo) (middle) and Huang Hsin-yao (director of Taivalu) (October 2011)


Long lines for TFD in front of New People Cinema in San Francisco (October 2011)


More long lines for TFD in front of New People Cinema (October 2011)

Taiwanese filmmakers share experiences with Bay Area audience

This year’s Taiwan Film Days was held at the New People Theater in San Francisco’s Japantown from October 12 to 14. The movies included classic Taiwanese feature films such as A Brighter Summer Day and six new blockbusters. Directors and special guests included Peng Kai-li, the widow of Edward Yang who directed A Brighter Summer Day, Fung Kai who directed Din Tao, and Tsao Jui-yuan, the director of Joyful Reunion. Each stayed to answer questions after their respective film.

During the Q&A session after Joyful Reunion, an audience member expressed her thanks to the organizers for bringing so many good Taiwanese films each year to the Bay Area so that she could better understand Taiwan.

This is the fourth Taiwan Film Days sponsored by the San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) in conjunction with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco. With the exception of A Brighter Summer Day, SFFS selected the six films from a semi-final pool of 30 newly-released Taiwanese films.

Fung Kai, director of Din Tao, the opening movie in the film festival, told the audience, “I shot TV programs for more than 20 years and could produce any TV drama with my eyes closed. This is the first time I have tried to make a movie. I feel blessed to win Taiwan’s box office champion this year.” He pointed out, “Din Tao is about the culture of Taiwan’s most grassroots temple fairs, but can still win the appreciation of an American audience in the Bay Area. Vivid story telling is the most important aspect in a movie. It goes beyond the barriers of cultural differences,” he said.

The Chinese title of Joyful Reunion is the same as Ang Lee’s famous Eat Drink Men Women (1994). Tsao Jui-yuan said he had no intention of competing with Lee, but wanted to tell the story of another generation via Joyful Reunion. Tsao pointed out that Lee’s movie is about gourmet food, relationships between man, woman, their families, while “simplicity” is the main theme running through Tsao’s film about vegetarianism, ecology, and the conceptual communication of love.

Peng Kai-li talked about her deceased husband Edward Yang, who directed A Brighter Summer Day, saying that Yang was a computer engineer before switching to a career in film. Yang’s directing skills were deeply influenced by his engineering background, telling a story in a neat and systematic way. Peng also mentioned that the main character in A Brighter Summer Day was drawn from Yang’s own high school experience.

Other films screened at the 4th Taiwan Film Days included Jump! Ashin, Days We Stared at the Sun, Ye Zai and Blowfish.

Taiwan Film Days 2012, Oct 12-14

Seven feature films will be a part of this year’s line-up for Taiwan Film Days in San Francisco. The weekend-long event will open with Din Tao: Leader of the Parade on Friday evening, October 12 at 6:30pm. The opening reception will begin at 8:30pm in the Superfrog Gallery located on the third floor of the New People Building (1746 Post Street) in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown.

Immediately after the first screening of Din Tao, director Fung Kai will take questions from the audience. Alongside the director will be a Nezha the Third Prince full-body puppet. Added to the festivities, troupe members will be on hand to perform and to explain the costume and the customs related to this deity.

Din Tao: Leader of the Parade will show again at 9:30pm in the New People Cinema. The film has a wonderful Taiwanese flavor, with a mix of Taiwanese-Mandarin dialogue that is very much a part of Taiwan today. The story focuses on Ah-Tai, a mediocre guitarist who returns to Taichung, where his father runs a Nezha troupe. While at home, tensions run high as his father and Ah-Tai continue to butt heads. A gradual thawing takes place as the son begins to lead the troupe in his father’s stead.

Along with Taiwan’s newest blockbusters, audiences can also enjoy A Brighter Summer Day, made in 1991. Set in the 1960s, director Edward Yang meticulously reconstructs the feel of Taiwanese society during the tumultuous time of White Terror and rampant youth gangs. The story is based on Taiwan’s first juvenile homicide where a 14 year-old boy kills his girlfriend. Yang, who passed away more than five years ago, is still considered a figurehead in New Taiwanese Media. The film is 4 hours long and will screen on Sunday, October 14 at 2pm.

Jump! Ashin, the runaway hit from 2011 will be the first film in Friday’s line-up. Ashin falls in love with gymnastics at an early age, but when his mother yanks him from his high school team, he loses his rudder in life. Soon he gets involved with the wrong crowd and his life begins to spiral out of control. The movie will show on Friday afternoon at 3pm and again on Saturday evening at 6:30pm. The film is based on director Lin Yu-Hsien’s older brother

Saturday’s line-up begins with Joyful Reunion, a layering of love stories – one about a couple’s long-distance relationship between China and Taiwan, and another, an old love separated by war, but one that has been preserved through the decades. Visually stunning, the film is a celebration of food and eating, and how the remembrance of certain scents and tastes are forever inscribed in us. The film screens on Saturday, October 13 at 1:30pm and is the last festival film on Sunday, October 14 at 9pm.

Days We Stared at the Sun follows the friendship between two unlikely high school classmates, one a mellow honor student and the other, a volatile delinquent. Although their intentions are admirable, there always appears to be a foreboding shadow of violence and tragedy. The film will screen on Saturday, October 13 at 4pm.

Ye Zai (Chinese for coconut), is the nickname of a bounty hunter who makes his money by hunting illegal aliens. When his father’s foreign caregiver goes missing, he hurries to track her down before his family reports her to the authorities. In the process, Ye Zai’s callousness wears off as he begins to understand the woman’s driving motivation. The two showings are on Saturday, October 13 at 9:30pm and Sunday, October 14 at noon.

Another Sunday film is Blowfish. When Kizo-Zhun catches her boyfriend cheating on her, she auctions their pet blowfish online. She then brings the blowfish to the buyer in the countryside, and remains there. The most erotic movie in the line-up, the characters’ pain is conveyed in the desperate silence that is a part of their solitary lives. Blowfish screens on Sunday night, October 14 at 7pm.

To purchase tickets for the films, please click here.

Jump! Ashin
Friday, October 12 at 3pm
Saturday, October 13 at 6:30pm

Din Tao: Leader of the Parade
Friday, October 12 at 6:30 and 9:30pm

Opening Night Party
Friday, October 12 at 8:30pm

Joyful Reunion
Saturday, October 13 at 1:30pm
Sunday, October 14 at 9:00pm 

Days We Stared at the Sun
Saturday, October 13, 4:00pm

Ye Zai
Saturday, October 13, 9:30pm
Sunday, October 14, 12:00pm

A Brighter Summer Day
Sunday, October 14 at 2:00pm

Sunday, October 14 at 7:00pm