Cinema with Us 2019

Away from Home: Documentaries About Disasters and Struggles over Land in Taiwan

Documentaries for Future Generations: Huang Shu-mei’s works
  • Formosa Dream, Disrupted
  • A Letter to Future Children
  • Coming Home
  • Co-hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Republic of China (Taiwan);
    Taiwan Culture Central, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan

    Living with Disasters: Documentary Film Practice over
    the Years in Taiwan and Japan

    This year’s “Cinema with Us” program focuses on documentary filmmaking as practiced over long periods of time, taking another look at the work of filmmakers who spend protracted periods documenting areas stricken by disaster. Films screened this time examine the dramatically shifting relationship between nature and humans in the present moment and capture the emotions of the ordinary people living amidst this upheaval.

    When we talk about the “practice” or movement of filmmaking, we aren’t talking about any single idea, nor is it something that can be defined by any single action. One might broadly describe it alternatively as what each and every filmmaker grapples with when creating a film in pursuit of their ideas, or how the filmmaker and the film’s subjects collaborate and relate to one another, or what conversations emerge and overlap among viewers upon seeing the completed film. Films are inherently records that convey something—once seen by an audience, they are endlessly dismantled and recreated, no matter what the era. Our aim is to approach the world from the perspective of the events captured in these films, sharing it with you and sparking new discourses. Their fundamental ethos doesn’t stop in the locations where they were filmed; it continues on.

    Our international Japan-Taiwan collaboration program this year includes films made in Taiwan and Japan. Taiwan, like Japan, has a long history of bearing the brunt of natural disasters. We explore how people feel in the aftermath of disaster, their struggle against forgetting, and their attachment to where they are from. I believe watching these films can help form new viewpoints that transcend local boundaries as well as encourage an understanding of the importance of documentaries about disasters and of the cultural significance surrounding these events.

    Hosoya Shuhei
    Program Coordinator