Taiwan Film Week Newsletter
Dr Kerim Friedman’s talk on “The Shifting Chronotopes of Indigeneity in Taiwanese Documentary Film”

The SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies hosted its 6th highly successful Film Week from the 11th to 13th of February 2019. Beginning on the topic of Indigenous Representation, Day One opened with Dr Kerim Friedman’s (National Dong Hwa University) fascinating talk on “The Shifting Chronotopes of Indigeneity in Taiwanese Documentary Film.” His talk explored the shifting representations of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples in films by indigenous and non-indigenous directors alike. His analysis was drawn from over sixty films in the archives of the Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival (TIEFF), giving the audience a snapshot of the changes in how indigenous personhood has been constructed in Taiwanese documentary films. 

Day Two picked up on Dr Friedman’s analysis with a screening of Su Huang-En’s documentary film The Mountain (靈山). Charting the history of the Taiwan’s Indigenous Rectification Movement through the life experiences of a Truku man, the film provided a key example of Indigenous agency in documentary filmmaking.  The evening concluded with a rare Taiwanese-language film (taiyupian) screening: May 13th, Night of Sorrow (五月十三傷心夜). Professor Chris Berry from King’s College London gave a wonderful overview of Taiwan’s taiyupian history, the recent restoration project by Taiwan Film Institute and a brief introduction of the film’s Director Lin Tuan-Qiu. Contrary to its contemporary post-war melodrama cinema, the newly restored May 13th, Night of Sorrow counters common prejudice and lays the groundwork for feminist analysis and solidarity. The audience found Lin Tuan-Qiu’s approach to sisterhood most fascinating.

The final day began with an in-depth analysis of “Activism, Protest and Social Criticism in Contemporary Taiwan Cinema” by Dr Lin Ting-Ying, examining parental rights, Indigenous land rights and agricultural neglect. The emphasis of her talk was placed mainly on the image of social movement and social activists that constructed in mainstream feature films.

The final finale of the Film Week was the screenings of two important documentaries and the Q&A sessions with their director Chiang Wei-Hua. The two documentaries included Chiang’s 2010 work The Right Thing (廣場) and the 2018 award-winning The Edge of Night (街頭). Both films intimately captured the motivations and aspirations of activists during Taiwan’s Wild Strawberry Movement and Sunflower Movement respectively. The week concluded with a lively discussion with Director Chiang.

As always, the Taiwan Film Week held some incredibly engaging Q&A sessions after each event. If you were unable to attend the Film Week you can receive regular updates on the Centre of Taiwan Studies work through the SOAS website ( and through the Centre’s Facebook page (

  • Photographs

    • Dr Kerim Friedman’s talk on “The Shifting Chronotopes of Indigeneity in Taiwanese Documentary Film”
    • Audience had a lot of questions about The Mountain.
    • Professor Chris Berry introduced Taiwanese-language film (taiyupian) history and the recent restoration project. Thanks to the support of Taiwan Cinema Toolkit & Taiwan Film Institute, the screening of May 13th, Night of Sorrow (五月十三傷心夜) at SOAS was the w
    • Dr. Lin Ting-ying gave an overview on the image of activism and protests that projected om feature films.
    • Chiang is passionate about Taiwan’s social movement. He told the audience that his works not only concerned about social justice but reflected on the journey of growing up.
  • 中央研究院近代史研究所
  • 漢學研究中心
  • 社會學研究所
  • 國史館臺灣文獻館