52nd Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival

Taiwan, November 17 - November 26 2015

The jury

Viera Langerova (Slovak Republic), Madhu Eravankara (India), Regina Ho (Taiwan), Xiao-Yi Yu (China)

Awarded films

This year’s festival nominations for the Golden Horse Award, covering Chinese-speaking countries, consisted of 37 works: not only features but documentaries, animations and short films. The award is currently celebrating its 52nd anniversary.

The highlight of Taiwanese cinema this year, The Assassin by Hou Hsiao-hsien, won the Golden Horse awards for best feature and director, having already won best director at Cannes earlier this year. Another renowned Taiwanese director, Tsai Ming-liang, had two films screened: the short No No Sleep and his new feature Afternoon, which was selected for the Master Class program.

New films from legendary Hong Kong directors – Tsui Hark’s The Taking of Tiger Mountains, Johnnie To’s Office, and Sylvia Chang’s Murmur of the Hearts – definitely delighted cinema lovers. Films from mainland China included Jia Zhangke’s Mountains May Depart and Guan Hu’s Mr Six.

Also nominated for awards were the latest local blockbusters, including the animation Monster Hunt by Raman Hui (who co-directed Shrek the Third) and Gone with the Bullets by Jiang Wen, who previously won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2002 with Doorstep Devils.

Since Taiwanese is famously the country of fusion, we must mention all the co-productions at the awards: the French-Chinese Wolf Totem by Jean-Jacques Annaud and the documentary On the Rim of the Sky by University of Cologne graduate Xu Hongjie. China, France and Japan were also co-production partners on Mountains May Depart.

The head of the jury was the famous Hong Kong director Ann Hui. Filmmaker in Focus was Peter Greenaway, and we were reminded of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Orson Welles through The Lady from Shanghai, The Third Man and Chuck Workman’s documentary Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles. French director Maurice Pialat also received a special program.

Worth seeing was the program Chinese Global Vision, which included a film from the Uighur minority in China, River Road by Li Ruijun. Seven Days, a film directed by painter and calligrapher Jian Xing and inspired by Béla Tarr, was screened along with Christopher Doyle’s Hong Kong Trilogy: Preschooled Preoccupied Preposterous, a semi-fiction film about Hong Kong residents from their childhood to old age. Meanwhile, rich fairytale imagination was seen in the section titled Wonderland, which showed Matteo Garrone’s Tale of Tales and Sion Sono’s Love and Peace. (Viera Langerova, edited by Lesley Chow)

Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival: www.goldenhorse.org.tw