Celebrating the Centennial of the Republic of China, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) has joined with Asian Pacific American Film, Inc. and the Freer and Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian to present several films. Two contemporary Taiwanese films, Cape No. 7 and The Fourth Portrait, will be presented on October 13th as part of the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival. Two pivotal earlier Taiwanese films (Tsai Ming-liang’s Rebels of the Neon God and Hou Hsiao-hsien’s A Time to Live and a Time to Die) will be presented at the Freer and Sackler Galleries on October 21st and 23rd. Both screenings at the Freer and Sackler Galleries are FREE.
Cape No. 7: His dream of rock n’ roll fame in Taipei having collapsed, Aga (pop star Van) returns to his hometown Hengchun, a beautiful but quiet location on the southern coast of Taiwan. There he meets the beautiful Tomoko, who is trying to organize a group of local musicians to perform as the warm up act for real-life Japanese pop star Kousuke Atari (playing himself).
Meanwhile, Aga has taken a job as a postman to get by. He stumbles upon a package of love letters written by a Japanese teacher who was repatriated to Japan after World War II. Tomoko helps him discover the letters’ true significance as they struggle to get the local band ready in time to perform and not embarrass the whole town. A fun, quirky romantic comedy filled with lively musical performances and real-life pop stars (Van sang the theme song in My Sassy Girl), Cape No. 7 is a film sure to delight any audience.
Cape No. 7 will screen at Landmark’s E Street Cinema on October 13 at 7 p.m.
The Fourth Portrait follows at 9:30 p.m. Ten year-old Xiang is alone after his father’s death, with only an elderly school janitor to help him survive by finding and selling used objects. Cantankerous as the old man is, he clearly cares for the young boy and tries to guide him through the dangers of life. But just as Xiang has settled into his new life, his estranged mother returns to take him away to live with her and his imposing stepfather.
Xiang befriends other misfits in his new home, and they add a comic touch to a life that is singed by tragedy. Haunting everyone is the mysterious disappearance of Xiang’s older brother many years earlier. The Fourth Portrait is an atmospheric film with deliberate pacing and great cinematography, punctuated by light-hearted and side-splitting comedy. At times wistful and sad, the story of this spirited young boy is not easily forgotten. – Tad Doyle