Imaging the Avant-Garde: Program 3

Shorts program, running time 97 min.

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Program 3: I Didn’t Dare Tell You

Introduced by Wood Lin, Program Director, Taiwan International Documentary Festival (TIDF)

I Didn’t Dare Tell You (US premiere)
Mou Tun-fei, Taiwan, 1969, 35mm transferred to video, 78 min., Chinese w/ English subtitles

Born in China in 1941, Mou Tun-fei moved to Taiwan in 1949. He declared cinema his lifework when he was still an art college student. I Didn't Dare to Tell You and The End of the Track, both included in this series, are the only two feature-length films he made in Taiwan and are among the nation’s first independent titles. Both went unreleased for unknown reasons, though rumor has it that the realistic depiction of the stifling society in I Didn’t Dare to Tell You and the hint of homosexuality in The End of the Track could be the causes. Discouraged by the setback, Mou spent the following years travelling in Europe and South America before working in Hong Kong for Shaw Brothers Pictures. He then became known for making bloody, gory films.

A primary school student secretly works a night job to pay off his father's gambling debts, and as a result constantly dozes off during classes in the day. When the teacher investigates, a series of family disputes ensues. Though only a small number of people saw the film at private screenings upon its completion, its realistic style has nevertheless proven influential. One reel of this film remains lost, and the only available copy has an abrupt, inconsistent ending that was most likely imposed by the government for propagandistic purposes.

Preceded by:

The Mountain
Richard Yao-chi Chen, US, 1966, 16mm transferred to video, 19 min., Chinese w/ English subtitles

This series has been curated by the Taiwan International Documentary Festival, with support from the Taiwan Film Institute, and is presented in collaboration with the Taipei Cultural Center in New York.

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