Taiwanese cinema, an influential sector of East Asian film, is celebrated for its diverse narratives, deeply rooted in the island’s unique history and culture.

Known for its poignant storytelling, complex characters, and exploration of sociopolitical themes, Taiwanese cinema has left an indelible mark on the international film landscape.

The birth of Taiwanese cinema dates back to the Japanese colonial era, but it truly began to flourish during the 1980s with the advent of the New Taiwanese Cinema movement.

This period saw a shift away from the formulaic, studio-produced films of the previous decades towards more realistic, socially conscious cinema.

New Taiwanese Cinema films often tackled contemporary social issues and painted an authentic picture of Taiwanese life, paving the way for Taiwanese cinema’s international breakthrough.

Directors such as Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Edward Yang, and Tsai Ming-Liang have been pivotal figures in this movement.

Hou’s “A City of Sadness” (1989) and Edward Yang’s “Yi Yi” (2000) are widely considered masterpieces of world cinema, capturing the essence of Taiwan’s unique cultural and historical identity. Tsai Ming-Liang, known for his slower-paced, contemplative films, further expanded the boundaries of Taiwanese cinema.

Best Taiwanese Movies

The following list introduces some of the finest films in Taiwanese cinema.

Each film, in its distinctive way, captures the depth and diversity of Taiwanese storytelling, offering audiences a glimpse into Taiwan’s vibrant cinematic landscape.

1. Dragon Inn

“Dragon Inn” is a 1967 wuxia film directed by King Hu. It is a classic martial arts film from Taiwan that has had a significant influence on the genre. The film is also known as “New Dragon Gate Inn” or “Dragon Gate Inn” in some regions.

The story is set during the Ming Dynasty in China and follows a group of skilled martial artists who find themselves entangled in a complex web of political intrigue.

They converge at the Dragon Inn, an isolated inn located in the desert, where they encounter a ruthless eunuch and his forces who are pursuing a fugitive general’s children. The inn becomes a battleground for their clash of power and survival.

“Dragon Inn” is known for its thrilling action sequences, intricate choreography, and intense fight scenes. The film showcases the acrobatic martial arts skills of its cast, featuring stunning swordplay and other combat techniques.

It combines elements of adventure, suspense, and martial arts prowess to create a captivating viewing experience.

The film’s visual style is notable, with its use of wide landscapes, elegant costumes, and skillful cinematography.

King Hu’s direction brings a sense of grandeur and tension to the film, heightening the drama and showcasing his expertise in capturing the essence of wuxia storytelling.

“Dragon Inn” has been praised for its engaging narrative, well-developed characters, and memorable performances. It has been influential in shaping the wuxia genre, inspiring numerous martial arts films that followed.

The film has gained a cult following and continues to be celebrated as a classic in martial arts cinema. Its impact on the genre and its status as a visually stunning and action-packed film have solidified its place in film history.


Dragon Inn (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES: New 4K digital restoration, supervised by cinematographer Hua...
  • New interview with actor Shangkuan Ling-fung
  • Interview from 2016 with actor Shih Chun
  • Scene analysis by author and New York Asian Film Festival cofounder Grady Hendrix
  • Newsreel footage of the film’s 1967 premiere in Taipei, Taiwan

2. A Touch of Zen

“A Touch of Zen” is a 1971 Taiwanese wuxia film directed by King Hu. It is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential films in the wuxia genre, known for its epic scale, stunning visuals, and philosophical themes.

The film tells the story of Ku, a talented but reclusive artist who becomes embroiled in a complex web of political intrigue and supernatural forces.

With the help of a mysterious and skilled swordsman named Yang, Ku must navigate treacherous situations and confront powerful enemies. The narrative unfolds gradually, blending elements of martial arts, fantasy, and Buddhist philosophy.

“A Touch of Zen” is celebrated for its breathtaking cinematography, intricate choreography, and its ability to capture the essence of Chinese traditional painting.

The film’s action sequences are beautifully crafted, with a focus on fluidity and grace. It also delves into deeper themes such as enlightenment, morality, and the pursuit of spiritual liberation.

Upon its release, “A Touch of Zen” received critical acclaim and was internationally recognized, winning the Technical Grand Prize at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival.

It is considered a masterpiece of Asian cinema, revered for its artistic merit and its influence on subsequent films within the wuxia genre.

The film’s impact extends beyond the realm of martial arts cinema, as it has been celebrated for its visual poetry and its exploration of philosophical and existential themes.

“A Touch of Zen” remains a hallmark of Taiwanese cinema and a testament to the visionary filmmaking of King Hu.

A Touch of Zen (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Hsu Feng, Shih Chun, Bai Ying (Actors)
  • King Hu (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

3. A Time to Live, a Time to Die

“A Time to Live, a Time to Die” (Tong nien wang shi) is a 1985 film directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien. The film is a semi-autobiographical work that draws inspiration from Hou’s own childhood experiences.

“A Time to Live, a Time to Die” is set in the 1950s and follows the story of a young boy named Ah-ha and his family as they move from the mainland of China to Taiwan.

The film explores the challenges they face as they adapt to their new surroundings, navigate cultural differences, and cope with the passage of time.

The film delves into themes of family, memory, and the cyclical nature of life. It provides a reflective and contemplative portrayal of the complexities and nuances of familial relationships, and how they evolve over time.

“A Time to Live, a Time to Die” is known for its slow pacing, meticulous attention to detail, and its exploration of the characters’ inner lives.

It is considered one of Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s masterpieces and has been praised for its visual aesthetics and its portrayal of the human experience.

Please note that my knowledge is based on information available up until September 2021, and there may have been subsequent developments or details related to “A Time to Live, a Time to Die” that I’m unaware of.

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4.Taipei Story

“Taipei Story” (original title: “Qing mei zhu ma”) is a Taiwanese film released in 1985, directed by Edward Yang. It is often regarded as a seminal work in Taiwanese cinema and a representative film of the Taiwanese New Wave movement.

The story revolves around a couple, Lung (played by Hou Hsiao-Hsien, who also co-wrote the screenplay) and Chin (played by Tsai Chin), living in Taipei. They navigate the challenges of urban life, changing social values, and their own personal aspirations and disappointments.

As the film unfolds, it explores the strains in Lung and Chin’s relationship, the impact of economic pressures, and the generational divide between them and the younger characters in the film.

It delves into themes of alienation, disconnection, and the struggle to find personal fulfillment in a rapidly modernizing society.

“Taipei Story” offers a contemplative and introspective portrayal of contemporary Taipei and the existential dilemmas faced by its characters.

Edward Yang’s direction is known for its meticulous attention to detail, realistic depiction of everyday life, and its ability to capture the subtle complexities of human relationships.

The film received critical acclaim for its sensitive exploration of urban alienation, its social commentary, and the poignant performances of the cast.

“Taipei Story” is often praised for its atmospheric cinematography and its ability to capture the essence of a changing city and its inhabitants.

As a key work of the Taiwanese New Wave, “Taipei Story” has had a significant influence on subsequent generations of filmmakers and has contributed to the recognition of Taiwanese cinema on the international stage.

It remains a highly regarded film for its artistry, thematic depth, and its reflection of the human condition in modern urban environments.

Taipei Story
  • French (Subtitle)
  • French (Publication Language)

5. The Terrorizers

“The Terrorizers” (original title: “Kong bu fen zi”) is a 1986 Taiwanese film directed by Edward Yang. It is a complex and interconnected drama that explores the lives of multiple characters in modern-day Taipei.

“The Terrorizers” weaves together several narrative threads, focusing on three main storylines. The first involves a young photographer who becomes fascinated with capturing the mundane and isolated moments of strangers’ lives.

The second follows a novelist struggling with writer’s block and his strained relationship with his wife. The third revolves around a disenchanted doctor and his wife, who suspects him of having an affair.

Through these interconnected stories, the film examines themes of urban alienation, existential crises, and the search for meaning and connection in a fragmented society.

“The Terrorizers” explores the disconnect and disorientation experienced by individuals living in a bustling city, highlighting the emotional distance and the psychological isolation that can exist amidst urban life.

Edward Yang’s direction in “The Terrorizers” is characterized by his meticulous attention to detail and his exploration of complex characters and their relationships.

The film features long takes, evocative cinematography, and a nonlinear narrative structure, reflecting the fractured nature of modern life and the intricacies of human interactions.

“The Terrorizers” is often regarded as a masterpiece of Taiwanese cinema and a notable entry in the New Taiwanese Cinema movement.

The film’s examination of the urban condition, its exploration of human psychology, and its insightful portrayal of contemporary Taipei have earned it critical acclaim.

By delving into the lives of its characters and interweaving their stories, “The Terrorizers” presents a multi-layered and thought-provoking exploration of the human experience in a modern urban setting.

It challenges viewers to contemplate the complexities of human relationships, the impact of societal pressures, and the longing for connection in an increasingly fragmented world.

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6. A City of Sadness

“A City of Sadness” (original title: “Beiqíng chéngshì”) is a 1989 Taiwanese historical drama film directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien.

It is considered a seminal work of Taiwanese cinema and is renowned for its depiction of the political and social upheaval in Taiwan during the 1940s and 1950s.

The film chronicles the lives of the Lin family in the period following the end of World War II, during the time of Taiwan’s transition from Japanese colonial rule to Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) control.

It explores the impact of historical events such as the 1947 February 28 Incident and the subsequent White Terror period on the lives of the characters.

“A City of Sadness” offers an intimate portrayal of the Lin family members, focusing on their personal experiences and struggles against the backdrop of significant political changes.

The film examines themes of loss, identity, memory, and the impact of political ideologies on individual lives.

Hou Hsiao-hsien’s directorial approach in “A City of Sadness” is characterized by his signature long takes, contemplative pacing, and attention to detail.

The film combines elements of historical events with the personal narratives of its characters to provide a poignant and nuanced exploration of Taiwan’s turbulent history.

“A City of Sadness” received critical acclaim internationally and won the Golden Lion at the 1989 Venice Film Festival, bringing recognition to Taiwanese cinema on the global stage.

It is considered a masterpiece of filmmaking, both for its historical significance and its artistic achievements.

Please note that “A City of Sadness” is in Mandarin and Taiwanese Hokkien with English subtitles and may be available on various streaming platforms or through DVD releases with subtitles in different languages, depending on your region.

a City of Sadness (Chinese movie, English Sub)
  • Leung Tony, Kao Jack (Actors)
  • English, Thai (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

7. A Brighter Summer Day

“A Brighter Summer Day” is a 1991 Taiwanese drama film directed by Edward Yang. It is considered a landmark in Taiwanese cinema and one of Yang’s most significant works.

The film is loosely based on a true story and offers a sprawling narrative that captures the complexities of youth, identity, and social changes in Taiwan during the 1960s.

The story is set in Taipei and follows the life of Xiao Si’r (played by Chang Chen), a young student caught between his family’s traditional values and the allure of the city’s gang culture.

As Xiao Si’r navigates his adolescence, he becomes entangled in a web of conflicts, violence, and romantic relationships.

“A Brighter Summer Day” explores various themes, including the clash between generations, the search for identity, and the impact of societal pressures on individuals.

It provides an intimate and poignant portrayal of the challenges faced by young people growing up in a rapidly changing society.

The film’s title alludes to the longing for a brighter future, one that is elusive amidst the turbulent social and political climate of the time.

Yang’s meticulous direction and attention to detail, along with the film’s extended runtime, allow for the development of rich characters and immersive storytelling.

“A Brighter Summer Day” has been widely praised for its masterful storytelling, brilliant performances, and its exploration of complex social issues.

It is considered a seminal work of Taiwanese cinema and has gained international recognition for its profound and nuanced examination of youth culture and societal transformation.

a City of Sadness (Chinese movie, English Sub)
  • Leung Tony, Kao Jack (Actors)
  • English, Thai (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

8. Rebels of the Neon God

“Rebels of the Neon God” is a Taiwanese drama film released in 1992. It was directed by Tsai Ming-liang and marked his feature film debut. The original title of the film in Mandarin is “Qing shao nian nuo zha” which translates to “Youngsters in the Evil City.”

The film tells the story of three young individuals living in Taipei, Taiwan, and explores their disaffected and alienated lives.

Hsiao-Kang (played by Lee Kang-sheng) is a disenchanted student who becomes obsessed with a petty criminal named Ah-tze (played by Chen Chao-jung).

Ah-tze, along with his friend Ah-ping (played by Jen Chang-bin), engage in various petty crimes and encounters with the city’s underbelly.

“Rebels of the Neon God” portrays the characters’ sense of restlessness and their search for meaning and connection in the urban landscape of Taipei.

Tsai Ming-liang’s distinct style, characterized by long takes and minimal dialogue, adds to the film’s contemplative and introspective atmosphere.

The film offers a commentary on modern urban life, loneliness, and the impact of societal pressures on the younger generation.

It delves into themes of isolation, frustration, and the longing for escape, as the characters navigate their mundane existence and seek ways to break free from their emotional and physical confinement.

“Rebels of the Neon God” received critical acclaim for its visual style, atmospheric storytelling, and its portrayal of youth culture in Taipei. It marked the beginning of Tsai Ming-liang’s distinguished career as a filmmaker known for his unique approach to cinema.

The film is regarded as an important work in Taiwanese cinema, capturing the disenchanted spirit of a generation and offering a raw and intimate portrayal of urban life.

It showcases Tsai Ming-liang’s talent for capturing the complexities of human emotions and the subtle dynamics between individuals and their surroundings.

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9. The Puppetmaster

“The Puppetmaster” (Chinese: 戲夢人生; pinyin: Xì Mèng Rén Shēng) is a 1993 Taiwanese drama film directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien.

It is a biographical film that tells the story of Li Tien-lu, a renowned Taiwanese puppeteer, and his experiences during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan.

“The Puppetmaster” blends fictionalized reenactments with documentary-style interviews and actual footage of Li Tien-lu himself.

The film explores the cultural and political landscape of Taiwan during the 20th century, depicting Li’s early life, his passion for puppetry, and the challenges he faced under Japanese colonial rule.

Through Li Tien-lu’s narrative, “The Puppetmaster” sheds light on the evolving social, historical, and political circumstances of Taiwan.

It delves into themes such as identity, tradition, and the changing dynamics of Taiwanese society.

The film received critical acclaim for its innovative narrative structure, authentic portrayal of Taiwanese history, and its meticulous attention to detail.

It won the Jury Prize at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival and solidified Hou Hsiao-hsien’s reputation as one of the leading figures of Taiwanese cinema.

“The Puppetmaster” is often regarded as a masterpiece of Taiwanese filmmaking, known for its poetic storytelling, visual elegance, and its ability to capture the essence of Li Tien-lu’s life and artistry.

It stands as a testament to the power of cinema to preserve and celebrate cultural heritage while also examining the complex tapestry of human experiences.

Puppetmaster: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover
  • Hack, Richard (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 464 Pages - 08/01/2007 (Publication Date) - Phoenix Books, Inc. (Publisher)

10. A Confucian Confusion

“A Confucian Confusion” (Dao ma zei) is a 1994 Chinese comedy-drama film directed by Edward Yang. The film explores the complexities and contradictions of modern Chinese society through a diverse ensemble cast of characters.

“A Confucian Confusion” is set in Taipei and revolves around the intersecting lives of various individuals, including businessmen, filmmakers, actors, and intellectuals.

The film satirizes the clash between traditional Confucian values and modern capitalist influences, as well as the struggles faced by the characters in navigating these contrasting forces.

Through its comedic and thought-provoking narrative, the film delves into themes of identity, cultural values, relationships, and the search for meaning in a rapidly changing society. It offers a nuanced exploration of the tensions and contradictions inherent in contemporary Chinese culture.

“A Confucian Confusion” received critical acclaim for its intelligent storytelling, sharp social commentary, and strong ensemble performances. It is regarded as one of Edward Yang’s notable works and an important film in Taiwanese cinema.

Please note that my knowledge is based on information available up until September 2021, and there may have been subsequent developments or details related to “A Confucian Confusion” that I’m unaware of.

A Confucian Constitutional Order: How China's Ancient Past Can Shape Its Political Future (The Princeton-China Series, 4)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Qing, Jiang (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 10/28/2012 (Publication Date) - Princeton University Press (Publisher)

11. The Hole

“The Hole” is a film directed by Tsai Ming-liang. It was released in 1998 and is a Taiwanese drama with elements of fantasy and surrealism. The original title of the film is “Dong.”

The story follows two neighbors, a woman (played by Yang Kuei-mei) and a man (played by Lee Kang-sheng), who live in an apartment building in Taipei. The city is experiencing a severe water shortage, and the man discovers a small hole in his apartment floor that leads to the apartment below.

As the characters’ lives intertwine through the hole, a series of mysterious and surreal events unfold. The film explores themes of isolation, loneliness, and the human need for connection and intimacy. It delves into the characters’ desires, fears, and their search for meaning in their lives.

“The Hole” is known for its slow pace, long takes, and its unique visual style. Tsai Ming-liang’s direction emphasizes a contemplative atmosphere and offers a critique of urban life and modern society.

The film received critical acclaim for its artistic vision, blending of genres, and its ability to evoke emotions through minimal dialogue and expressive visuals. “The Hole” has been praised for its metaphorical depth and its exploration of human conditions in a rapidly changing world.

It is important to note that there are other films with the title “The Hole” from different countries and time periods. The information provided here specifically refers to the 1998 Taiwanese film directed by Tsai Ming-liang.

The Hole
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Chris Massoglia, Haley Bennett, Nathan Gamble (Actors)
  • Joe Dante (Director) - Mark L. Smith (Writer) - Michel Litvak (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

13. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is a 2000 wuxia martial arts film directed by Ang Lee. Set in 18th-century Qing dynasty China, the film tells a story of love, honor, and the pursuit of freedom.

The film follows the journeys of several characters, including Li Mu Bai (played by Chow Yun-fat), Yu Shu Lien (played by Michelle Yeoh), Jen Yu (played by Zhang Ziyi), and Lo “Dark Cloud” (played by Chang Chen).

Li Mu Bai is a legendary warrior who entrusts his treasured sword, the Green Destiny, to Yu Shu Lien, his close friend and confidante.

However, the sword is stolen by the headstrong and rebellious Jen Yu, setting off a series of events that unravel secrets, desires, and the pursuit of personal destiny.

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is renowned for its breathtaking fight sequences, which blend gravity-defying martial arts with poetic elegance.

The film showcases the use of “wire-fu” techniques, where characters seemingly defy gravity and engage in gravity-defying stunts during combat. The action is intertwined with themes of unrequited love, duty, and the conflict between personal desires and societal expectations.

Beyond its action-packed sequences, the film is also a meditation on Chinese culture and tradition. It explores themes of loyalty, sacrifice, and the balance between freedom and duty.

The characters grapple with their own desires and ambitions within the constraints of a hierarchical society.

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” received critical acclaim upon its release and became an international sensation.

It won numerous awards, including four Academy Awards, and became the highest-grossing foreign-language film in the United States at the time. The film’s success helped propel wuxia films and Chinese cinema to a wider global audience.

Ang Lee’s direction, combined with the stellar performances and lush cinematography, created a visually stunning and emotionally resonant film.

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” has been praised for its lyrical storytelling, rich character development, and its ability to blend action, romance, and philosophical themes.

The film has had a lasting impact on the martial arts genre and continues to be celebrated for its artistic achievements and its ability to captivate audiences with its fusion of action, drama, and poetic beauty.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi (Actors)
  • Ang Lee (Director) - James Schamus (Writer) - Bill Kong (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

14. Yi Yi

“Yi Yi” is a 2000 Taiwanese drama film directed by Edward Yang. It is also known as “A One and a Two” in English. The film offers an intimate and insightful portrayal of a Taiwanese family as they navigate the complexities of life, relationships, and personal growth.

The story revolves around the Jian family, specifically focusing on the perspectives of three generations: the father N.J., the mother Min-Min, their young son Yang-Yang, and their teenage daughter Ting-Ting.

Each family member is dealing with their own challenges and experiences, and the film follows their individual journeys while also exploring their interconnectedness.

“Yi Yi” captures everyday moments and emotions with great depth and sensitivity. It delves into universal themes such as love, loss, regret, and the search for meaning and happiness.

The film portrays the complexities and subtleties of human relationships and provides a profound reflection on the human condition.

Edward Yang’s directorial style in “Yi Yi” is characterized by his patient and observant approach, allowing the characters and their experiences to unfold naturally.

The film received critical acclaim for its beautiful cinematography, thought-provoking storytelling, and its ability to capture the nuances of human emotions.

“Yi Yi” was highly regarded in the international film community and won numerous awards, including the Best Director award at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.

It is considered one of the most significant works in Taiwanese cinema and has been praised for its authenticity, emotional depth, and its exploration of the complexities of modern life.

Please note that “Yi Yi” is in Mandarin with English subtitles and may be available on various streaming platforms or through DVD releases with subtitles in different languages, depending on your region.

Yi Yi
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Nianzhen Wu, Elaine Jin, Issey Ogata (Actors)
  • Edward Yang (Director) - Edward Yang (Writer) - Shinya Kawai (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

15. Millennium Mambo

“Millennium Mambo” is a 2001 Taiwanese film directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien. It is a visually captivating and introspective drama that explores themes of youth, love, and the search for personal freedom.

The film revolves around Vicky (played by Shu Qi), a young woman living in Taipei during the early 2000s. Vicky finds herself in an unsatisfying relationship with an abusive boyfriend (played by Jack Kao) and becomes entangled in a nightlife scene dominated by drugs and aimlessness.

As the narrative unfolds, “Millennium Mambo” captures moments from Vicky’s life over the course of a year. It delves into her reflections, desires, and struggles to find her own path.

The film employs a non-linear structure, presenting fragmented glimpses into Vicky’s experiences and emotions, as well as her connections with various people she encounters along the way.

Hou Hsiao-hsien’s directorial style is characterized by his use of long takes, minimal dialogue, and attention to details in capturing the atmosphere and rhythm of everyday life.

“Millennium Mambo” showcases his ability to convey the nuances of human relationships and emotions through subtle gestures and visual storytelling.

The film is renowned for its striking cinematography, capturing the beauty and melancholy of Taipei’s urban landscape. It also features a mesmerizing soundtrack that accompanies the characters’ journeys.

“Millennium Mambo” has received critical acclaim for its artistic merits and its portrayal of the complexities of contemporary youth culture. It offers a contemplative exploration of loneliness, self-discovery, and the yearning for freedom in a fast-paced and uncertain world.

Millennium Mambo [Blu-ray]
  • A stunning 4K restoration of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s hypnotic 2001 film
  • Shu Qi, Jack Kao (Actors)
  • Hou Hsiao-hsien (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

16.Good Bye, Dragon Inn

“Goodbye, Dragon Inn” is a Taiwanese film released in 2003, directed by Tsai Ming-liang. The original title of the film in Mandarin is “Bú sàn” which translates to “Unfinished.”

The film takes place in a rundown cinema in Taipei that is showing the 1967 martial arts film “Dragon Inn” (which we mentioned earlier).

Set on the last night before the cinema is set to close its doors permanently, “Goodbye, Dragon Inn” captures the atmosphere of the theater as a handful of patrons gather to watch the film’s final screening.

The film primarily focuses on the interactions and observations of the characters within the cinema. It explores themes of nostalgia, isolation, and the decline of traditional cinematic experiences.

The aging theater acts as a metaphor for the passing of time and the fading allure of cinema as a communal experience.

With minimal dialogue and long, static shots, Tsai Ming-liang creates a contemplative and atmospheric mood. The film emphasizes silence, lingering shots, and small gestures to convey the characters’ emotions and the passage of time.

“Goodbye, Dragon Inn” is a reflective and introspective work that pays homage to the golden age of cinema while meditating on the transience of human connection.

It draws parallels between the characters’ loneliness and the characters within the film “Dragon Inn” itself, blurring the boundaries between reality and fiction.

The film received critical acclaim for its artistic vision and its exploration of the human condition. It is considered an important entry in Tsai Ming-liang’s filmography, known for his slow cinema style and his ability to capture the melancholic beauty of human existence.

“Goodbye, Dragon Inn” stands as a poetic reflection on the power of cinema, the fleeting nature of time, and the yearning for connection in an increasingly disconnected world.

Goodbye, Dragon Inn
  • Lee Kang-Sheng, Shih Chung-tien, Kiyonobu Mitamura (Actors)
  • Tsai Ming-Liang (Director) - Liang Hung-chih (Producer)

17. Cape No. 7

“Cape No. 7” is a 2008 Taiwanese romantic comedy-drama film directed by Wei Te-sheng. The film is set in the small town of Hengchun in southern Taiwan and revolves around a group of individuals who come together to form a band.

The story follows Aga, a former rock star who returns to his hometown of Hengchun to work as a postman. He discovers a package from Japan addressed to a Japanese teacher who lived in Hengchun during World War II.

As Aga sets out to deliver the package, he encounters a group of local musicians, and they decide to form a band to perform at a music festival in the town.

“Cape No. 7” explores themes of love, friendship, and the power of music to bridge cultural divides.

It combines elements of romance, comedy, and drama, portraying the interactions and relationships between the characters against the backdrop of Hengchun’s charming coastal scenery.

The film became a box office hit in Taiwan and achieved significant cultural significance. It was praised for its heartwarming story, memorable characters, and its ability to capture the essence of small-town life.

“Cape No. 7” also received international recognition, becoming one of the highest-grossing Taiwanese films of all time.

The film’s success helped revitalize Taiwan’s film industry and brought attention to the talents of director Wei Te-sheng. It is celebrated for its universal themes, engaging storytelling, and its ability to resonate with audiences both in Taiwan and abroad.

“Cape No. 7” is a charming and uplifting film that showcases the power of music and community, offering a heartwarming portrayal of love and the pursuit of dreams.

Cape No.7
  • dvd movies
  • Van Fan, Chie Tanaka, Min-Hsiung (Actors)
  • Te-Sheng Wei (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

18. You Are the Apple of My Eye

“You Are the Apple of My Eye” (那些年,我們一起追的女孩) is a 2011 Taiwanese coming-of-age romantic comedy-drama film directed by Giddens Ko. The film is based on Ko’s own semi-autobiographical novel of the same name.

“You Are the Apple of My Eye” follows the story of Ko Ching-teng, a high school student, and his group of friends. The film depicts their mischievous adventures, friendships, and romantic pursuits, particularly Ko’s infatuation with his classmate Shen Chia-yi.

The film explores themes of youth, first love, friendship, and the challenges of adolescence. It captures the nostalgia and sentimental moments of high school life while addressing the transition to adulthood and the lessons learned along the way.

“You Are the Apple of My Eye” received positive reviews for its heartfelt storytelling, relatable characters, and nostalgic depiction of teenage years. It became a commercial success in Taiwan and gained popularity across Asia.

Please note that my knowledge is based on information available up until September 2021, and there may have been subsequent developments or details related to “You Are the Apple of My Eye” that I’m unaware of.

19.Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale

“Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale” is a Taiwanese epic historical drama film directed by Wei Te-Sheng.

The film was released in two parts: “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale – Part 1: The Sun Flag” in 2011 and “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale – Part 2: The Rainbow Bridge” in 2012.

Based on true events, the film depicts the Wushe Incident, which occurred in 1930 in Taiwan during the Japanese colonial period. It tells the story of the Seediq people, an indigenous tribe, who rebel against the Japanese rule and fight for their freedom and cultural preservation.

The film focuses on the character of Mona Rudao, a Seediq tribe leader played by Lin Ching-Tai, who leads his people in an uprising against the Japanese oppressors. The narrative portrays the struggles faced by the Seediq warriors as they battle for their land, dignity, and identity.

“Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale” showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Seediq people and explores themes of indigenous rights, colonialism, and cultural resilience.

The film features stunning cinematography, large-scale battle sequences, and an immersive portrayal of the historical period.

The film received critical acclaim for its ambitious storytelling, strong performances, and its depiction of the complex relationship between the Seediq people and the Japanese colonial regime.

“Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale” became a box-office success in Taiwan and raised international awareness of the indigenous history and struggles in the country.

The film stands as a significant work in Taiwanese cinema, highlighting the resilience and bravery of the indigenous communities and shedding light on a lesser-known chapter of Taiwan’s history.

20.Stray Dogs

“Stray Dogs” is a 2013 Taiwanese drama film directed by Tsai Ming-liang. The film is known for its contemplative style and minimal dialogue, delving into themes of alienation, poverty, and the struggle for human connection.

“Stray Dogs” follows the lives of a father (played by Lee Kang-sheng) and his two young children, a boy and a girl, who live in poverty on the outskirts of Taipei.

The father works as a human billboard, standing motionless in the city streets holding a sign advertising luxury apartments. The film observes their daily routines, their struggles to survive, and their encounters with other marginalized individuals.

Tsai Ming-liang’s direction in “Stray Dogs” is marked by long takes and slow-paced sequences, allowing the audience to immerse themselves in the characters’ experiences and contemplate the human condition.

The film portrays the father’s sense of disillusionment and the children’s search for stability and affection in a harsh and unforgiving environment.

The narrative of “Stray Dogs” is intentionally fragmented, leaving room for interpretation and reflection.

The film’s visual style, combined with its sparse dialogue and contemplative pacing, conveys a sense of isolation and desolation, emphasizing the characters’ emotional and physical distance from the world around them.

“Stray Dogs” received critical acclaim for its artistic merits and its exploration of human vulnerability and resilience. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 2013 and garnered praise for its poignant performances and striking cinematography.

While “Stray Dogs” may not follow a conventional narrative structure, it offers a profound and evocative portrayal of human existence, highlighting the struggle for connection, dignity, and meaning in the face of adversity.

It is a film that invites introspection and emotional engagement, leaving viewers with lingering questions and a deeper appreciation for the power of cinema to capture the complexities of the human experience.