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  • On Happiness Road

    On Happiness Road

    ★★★★

    Director Sung Hsin-yin partly based On Happiness Road on her own experiences, growing up in Taipei and later moving to both Japan and the United States. Her protagonist Chi returns from the US to Taiwan when her grandmother dies. As she is confronted with a changed society and cityscape, her memories of her childhood are seamlessly interwoven into the narrative through the lively, colourful animation. Her grandmother was from the countryside and of indigenous origin, which causes some kids to…

  • Hang in There, Kids!

    Hang in There, Kids!

    ★★★★

    While the divide between Taiwan’s indigenous people, mostly living in the countryside, and the Chinese people that came to redefine the country, mostly in the nineteenth and twentieth century, plays only a small part in On Happiness Road, it is featured front and center in the sometimes hilarious Hang in There, Kids!. Three young indigenous boys live in the side of a mountain in the picturesque Sqoyaw reserve. While their cheerful antics are warmly filmed by Laha Mebow, herself of…

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  • An Autumn Afternoon

    An Autumn Afternoon

    ★★★★★

    "Did you go to a funeral?"
    "Something like that."

  • The Legend of the Swordsman

    The Legend of the Swordsman

    ★★★★½

    Given that this one wasn't directed by either King Hu or Tsui Hark I kinda expected it to be a lesser film, but was so so wrong. Yes, stylistically it's a slightly lesser film than it's predecessor but it makes up for that with Brigitte Lin as a man who had to turn into a woman to achieve ultimate martial arts skills and magic powers. And what skills and powers they are! The ruminations on the cruelty of the world and the tragedy of the love quadrangle manage to work amidst the crazy fantasy, too, somehow.