26th Women Make Waves Int'l Film Festival, Taiwan Program Introduction

After #MeToo

Civil rights activist Tarana Burke began using the phrase “Me Too” in 2006 as a slogan against sexual assault and harassment. Various circumstances can make it all the more difficult for victims to speak up about instances of sexual abuse. We also need to understand the situation of children being assaulted, as well as male victims. This program will give the audience the chance to understand the mental processes victims and people close to them go through.


Lady Avengers: Asia, Women, and Chainsaws

In the 70s and the 80s, a group of femme fatales took over Asian cinema with swords and chainsaws. Their shocking images became the spectres lingering at the periphery of film history. To invite these Goddesses of Vengeance back to the center of the film stage, the program presents a selection of five Asian Female Revenge Films from the early 1970s to 1980s, from Nikkatsu Pinky Violence, the Shaw Brothers cult genre, South Korean psychosexual melodrama, Hong Kong New Wave, to Taiwan Pulp Film.

The counterculture and women's rights movements in the 1970s, combined with the expansion and economic strategies of film industries, gave rise to the craze of global production and consumption of exploitation films. The program explores “female revenge” not only as a sub-genre in the exploitation frenzy but a genre-bending and self-reflexive theme which, with its daring aesthetic experiments and provoking social commentaries, provides a glimpse of the eternal tangle between nation, class, gender, and female bodies in Asian film history.


Gray Dynamics of Love and Hope

Throughout the course of life, we try to identify the essence of things among countless factors of uncertainty. This process of wandering through gray areas is known as "philosophy of gray dimensions". Being a woman is tough. What dimensions of gray do we encounter when we deal with all our struggles in life? And how do these dimensions relate to love and hope? This program is intended to fill women with spiritual energy, whether accompanied by tears or smiles.


Your Country Is Not Your Own.

The tyranny of dictatorships, re-writing of history, displacement by terrorism and war, the uncertain future of refugee children, disappearing borders and unrecognized sovereignty...Is it possible to just ignore news stories about all these things? What is the situation of women who find their country in turmoil? This program assembles issues of nationality and country that receive global attention and observes the state of affairs between "the native and the foreign", "separation and marginalization", "politics and the individual".


Master in Focus: Jocelyne SAAB

Lyrical and uncompromising, the films of Jocelyne SAAB (1948-2019) are at once landmark works of Lebanese cinema and masterpieces of the essay film form. The poetic voiceovers of her movies recall Chris MARKER, and her fragmented, diaristic images are reminiscent of Jonas MEKAS. But SAAB’s poetic vision, and her intimate interactions with the displaced, the exiled, and the voiceless, mark her films as uniquely her own. Trained as a radio and television journalist, Saab turned her attention to nonfiction films in the wake of the Lebanese Civil War. Her epic, impressionistic trilogy of documentaries about Beirut chronicles a moment at which a kind of bitter poetry has replaced the carelessness of the past. She later moved on to make fiction films, photography and installations, and founded the Cultural Resistance International Film Festival of Lebanon in 2013.


Asian Shorts Shout!

Beyond the reduction of technical barriers, greater change in society at large is necessary for minority groups to let their voices be heard through film. The influence of gender and ethnicity in the film industry has been revealed, and female Asian directors now have ample opportunities to exhibit their perspectives. The short films in this program focus on the close-knit connection between women and their families. They reveal the influence of the gendered family on women.


Queering Voices

Marriage equality has been achieved and the banner of the rainbow is omnipresent, but we should not let its shining light obscure our view on the shadows behind it, or let the cheers make us overhear the still existing background noise. The oppression is still there, so we are unable or unwilling to join in frantic celebrations. Instead, we should stop and listen to the voices continuing to call from the dark, and look for those struggling yet.


Remembering Barbara HAMMER

One way to commemorate a deceased friend is to remember the films she made. A pioneer of American queer experimental films, her films were always highly political. She fought conventional social norms and conventional cinema from the perspective of women, lesbians and queer people. She was concerned with identity, sex and the body, and also with aging and death. Please allow us to screen Barbara HAMMERs films once again, and join us in remembering her.


Rocking Cinema History

Cinema is intertwined with our daily lives, memories and history. This program departs from celebrating some giants of cinema history. It pays respects to cinema history, but it also does not lack in sharp analysis. We want to have another look at romantic comedies everybody has grown to love, and put the romantic relationships shown under scrutiny. We want to reinterpret film history, burst the bubble of the Hollywood fairytale and rethink gender in the film industry.


Original Shouts

Indigenous groups have taken back leadership in film recreation of their cultures, formerly dominated by white directors. Yet their works still receive limited attention. To consciously engage with these works means to challenge the oppressive structures in the film world created by nationality, ethnicity and traditional ideas about gender. Female indigenous directors take on these structures. They introduce gender into the equation and stress connections of land, water and ecology. They find the potential for gender equality in traditional cultures.