Imaging the Avant-Garde: Programs 1 & 2

Shorts program, running time 133 min.

Join our independent nonprofit theater.

Become a Member

Program 1: Richard Yao-chi Chen’s Student Films, 1963-1966

Born in Sichuan, China, in 1938, Richard Yao-chi Chen moved to Taiwan in 1945 where he studied architecture before relocating to the U.S. He attended the Chicago Art Institute and received his MA in film studies from UCLA in 1967, and then returned to Taiwan to embark on a successful filmmaking career in the Chinese-speaking world. This program features four films Chen made while studying at UCLA. The Archer is a hand-drawn animation of the Chinese folktale “Houyi Shoots Down the Suns.” Through the Years touches on the theme of Westward expansion, combining fact with fiction. The Mountain employs a modernist narrative to reflect young people’s longing for freedom in the 1960s. The original copy of this short lay forgotten in a UCLA professor’s garage for decades and was digitally restored by the Taiwan Film Institute in 2017. Liu Pi-chia, a biographical documentary depicting a veteran who joined thousands of others to work on national infrastructure projects in the 1960s, is considered Taiwan’s first cinéma vérité film.

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

The Archer
Richard Yao-chi Chen, US, 1963, 16mm transferred to video, 5 min.
US premiere of new digital restoration

Through the Years
Richard Yao-chi Chen, US, 1966, 16mm transferred to video, 11 min.
US premiere of new digital restoration

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

Liu Pi-chia
Richard Yao-chi Chen, US, 1967, 16mm transferred to video, 27 min.
US premiere of new digital restoration


Followed by:

Program 2: Experimental shorts from the 1960s

This program presents films by five key figures, including filmmaker Pai Ching-jui (1931-97), painter Han Hsiang-ning (born 1939), photographer Chuang Ling and Chang Chao-tang, and designer Long Sih-liang (1937-2012). While the movement was short-lived, these filmmakers went on to become well-established artists in their own disciplines. Pai, the first person from Taiwan to study film in Italy, built his reputation making classic melodramas and literary adaptations. Han, still active today, is a noted painter, while Chuang and Chang are two highly respected photographers in Taiwan, and Long created many memorable visual designs for films and books.

  • The films in this program either have damaged soundtracks or were produced silent. Live musical accompaniment is provided by Jeff Zeigler and Sarah Schimeneck.

A Morning in Taipei
Pai Ching-jui, Taiwan, 1964, 35mm transferred to video, 20 min.
US premiere

Han Hsiang-ning, Taiwan, 1965, 8mm transferred to video, 4 min.
International premiere

Han Hsiang-ning, Taiwan, 1966, 8mm transferred to video, 5 min.
US premiere

Life Continued
Chuang Ling, Taiwan, 1966, 16mm transferred to video, 14 min.
US premiere

My New Born Baby
Chuang Ling, Taiwan, 1967, 16mm transferred to video, 8min.
US premiere

Modern Poetry Exhibition – 1966
Chang Chao-tang, Taiwan, 1966, 8mm transferred to video, 12 min.
International premiere

Getting Ready for the Festival
Long Sih-liang, Taiwan, 1967, 8mm transferred to video, 8 min.
US premiere

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.

【11th TIDF】台灣切片|想像式前衛:1960s 的電影實驗預告 Imagining the Avant-garde: Film Experiments of the 1960s Trailer