THE BOYS FROM FENGKUEI part of TAIPEI STORIES at Close-Up (01 to 30 JUN 2019).


Our friends at Close-Up have announced a new programme of thirteen films, by three masters of Taiwanese New Cinema, set in & around Taipei throughout the 20th & 21st Century. Here’s our handy guide (& news of an exclusive season discount).


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TAIPEI STORIES is a new season that screens at Close-Up Film Centre from 01 to 30 JUN 2019. It celebrates the work of three masters of Taiwanese cinema and so we thought we’d take a look at their careers in this handy RADIANT CIRCUS screen guide. You can find full listings for the season – including descriptions and details of each film – at Close-Up.


Thanks to our friends at Close-Up, we’re delighted to announce that all RADIANT CIRCUS subscribers can unlock a discount code for the entire season on our pages at That’s a saving of £2 on each standard price ticket.

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Hou Hsiao-hsien

A CITY OF SADNESS part of TAIPEI STORIES at Close-Up (01 to 30 JUN 2019).
A CITY OF SADNESS part of TAIPEI STORIES at Close-Up (01 to 30 JUN 2019).

Hou is almost that rare thing, an acclaimed arthouse director who managed to make a hugely popular crossover hit, but the Rotten Tomatoes review gives the game away: “THE ASSASSIN’s thrilling visuals mark a fresh highlight for director Hou Hsiao-hsien, even if its glacial pace may keep some viewers at arm’s length.” We also love this intro to his career: “Critic J. Hoberman called him ’the world’s greatest active narrative filmmaker’ – a description which belies Hou Hsiao-hsien’s apparent lack of interest in narrative” (The Rough Guide to Film pp237).

Combining formalist rigour with a humanist heart, Hou is a “revered figure among serious critics and cinephiles” (ibid). He has won many awards – including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for A CITY OF SADNESS (which screens at Close-Up from a 35mm print) and Best Director at Cannes for THE ASSASSIN – and places in ‘best of’/‘future of’ lists including a weighty Director Of The Decade accolade in a late 1990s poll compiled by The Village Voice and Film Comment (wikipedia).

01 JUN 18:00 / 24 JUN 20:15
THE BOYS FROM FENGKUEI d. Hou Hsiao-hsien, 1983 (main featured image)

15 JUN 19:30 / 24 JUN 20:15
A CITY OF SADNESS 35mm d. Hou Hsiao-hsien, 1989

16 JUN 20:00
DUST IN THE WIND d. Hou Hsiao-hsien, 1986

17 JUN 20:15 / 29 JUN 17:30
THREE TIMES 35mm d. Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2005

Edward Yang

A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY part of TAIPEI STORIES at Close-Up (01 to 30 JUN).
A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY part of TAIPEI STORIES at Close-Up (01 to 30 JUN).

Making a popular return to Close-Up after a dedicated season of his works last year, comes one of those talents dead before their time but leaving an outstanding body of work (totalling eight features). Winner of Best Director at Cannes for YI YI (aka A One And A Two, 2000) and collaborator in an unrealised animated project with Jackie Chan (wikipedia), Yang was once voted among the “five most important filmmakers for the future of the medium” largely on the strength of three movies: TAIPEI STORY (1985), THE TERRORIZERS (1986) and the “unforgettable youth gang epic” A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY (1991) (The Rough Guide to Film pp 617). Two of his films are included in the Sight & Sound 2012 longlist of critics’ favourites and are joined at Close-Up by his second feature, THAT DAY ON THE BEACH (1983).

01 JUN 20:00 / 14 JUN 20:15
THAT DAY ON THE BEACH d. Edward Yang, 1983

02 JUN 18:00
A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY d. Edward Yang, 1991

16 JUN 17:30
TAIPEI STORY d. Edward Yang, 1985

23 JUN 19:00
YI YI d. Edward Yang, 2000

13 JUN 20:15 / 25 JUN 20:15
THE TERRORIZERS d. Edward Yang, 1986

Tsai Ming-liang

REBELS OF THE NEON GOD part of TAIPEI STORIES at Close-Up (01 to 30 JUN 2019).
REBELS OF THE NEON GOD part of TAIPEI STORIES at Close-Up (01 to 30 JUN 2019).

“Tsai is one of the most celebrated ‘Second New Wave’ film directors of Taiwanese cinema” (wikipedia) and is credited with “propelling Taiwanese film to the front ranks” (The Rough Guide to Film pp565). “Sexually uncertain but curious, Tsai’s characters often reflect the homosexual themes that a more direct form in his television documentary on AIDS, MY NEW FRIENDS (1995)” (ibid). All of his feature films star on-screen alter ego Kang-sheng Lee including one of our favourites that sadly didn’t make the cut at Close-Up, THE HOLE (1998): “While never-ending rain and a strange disease spread by cockroaches ravage Taiwan, a plumber makes a hole between two apartments and the inhabitants of each form a unique connection, enacted in musical numbers” (IMDb).

03 JUN 20:30 / 30 JUN 18:00
REBELS OF THE NEON GOD d. Tsai Ming-liang, 1993

18 JUN 20:15 / 30 JUN 20:00
STRAY DOGS d. Tsai Ming-liang, 2013

19 JUN 20:15
THE RIVER d. Tsai Ming-liang, 1997

20 JUN 20:15
VIVE L’AMOUR d. Tsai Ming-liang, 1994

TAIPEI STORIES screens at Close-Up Centre 01 to 30 JUN 2019.

All RADIANT CIRCUS subscribers get a juicy discount for the entire season at Subscribe to get our listings delivered direct (+ other great rewards!) and support #LDNindieFILM.


If you’re interested in these films, their influence can be keenly felt in Close-Up’s mini-season about the Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda (OF FLESH & BLOOD: THE CINEMA OF HIROKAZU KORE-EDA, 04 to 12 JUN) and there’s an evening of Taiwanese cinema as part of this year’s Aperture Film Festival, also at Close-Up: Poetic Voices: A Trip Through The Taiwanese Avant-Garde Of The 1960s (05 JUN 18:00); and, THE END OF THE TRACK d. Mou Tun-fei, 1970 (05 JUN 20:00).


Close-Up Film Centre in Shoreditch is the embodiment of London’s indie film spirit, providing a heavenly member’s library of borrowable books and DVDs as well as a well-equipped 40 seat screen and café/bar. The film programme majors heavily on director retrospectives but their one-off events by moving image artists are often our reason for going back time and time again.

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*THE SMALL PRINT: As accurate as we could make it. Apologies for any errors. Updates & corrections will be made to the online version. Event dates/times are subject to change by the venue/organiser. We try to only list events you can book for at the time of posting: however, some events may still be sold out. Please click quickly! We don’t filter by age/certification: all readers & subscribers should be 18+.