A CONFUCIAN CONFUSION (4K Restoration) – Review by Diane Carson

Set in modern Taipei, a quote from Confucius early in the film, “Hurt no one but always cover your back,” should guide the multiple characters involved in a failing advertising business. Unfortunately, it becomes apparent that only the second half of Confucius’ advice registers for ten young, misguided men and women searching for authentic identity through hypocrisy, dissembling, distrust of others, and betrayal. Over three days, they shift allegiances and struggle for support, though not reciprocating any on hand, all the while pursuing empty promises of happiness through financial success and materialistic modernity.

Read more

MAHJONG (4K Restoration) – Review by Diane Carson

Mahjong captures the interactions among a diverse group of combative frustrated, and frustrating young individuals who, to borrow a cliché, can’t see the forest for the trees. Set in modern Taipei, the film begins with titles announcing that entrepreneurial Winston Chen, who has amassed billions in debt despite a lucrative kindergarten franchise, hides from gangsters who believe kidnapping his son will drive their prey into the open. Despite that setup, Mahjong’s first hour plus, rather like the game mahjong, requires patience for any payoff. The necessary indulgence here is accepting thoroughly sexist banter among young men and subservient, needy women, the plot eventually leading to caricatured mobsters.

Read more

NINA WU – Review by Liz Braun

It’s possible to admire a film without particularly liking it. Filmmaker Midi Z’s Nina Wu concerns an actress mistreated by the film industry, a disturbing tale of debasement that implicates all involved, including the viewer. It’s a film about filmmaking, and the hard reality that underpins all that fantasy. Expect to be uncomfortable. Ke-Xi Wu — who wrote and stars here — drew from her own experiences as an actor to create this vaguely hallucinogenic outing about a #MeToo work experience involving mental and physical exploitation.

Read more