‘A City of Sadness’ tops list of the 100 best films in Asia

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‘A City of Sadness’ tops list of the 100 best films in Asia

Staff writer, with CNA

The historical drama A City of Sadness (悲情城市) by Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢) has topped this year’s list of the 100 best films in Asia in the Busan International Film Festival’s (BIFF) latest rankings.

The 1989 award-winning film, which tells the story of a family caught up in the events of Taiwan’s White Terror era, climbed from fifth place in the previous BIFF Asian Cinema 100 Ranking.

Two other Taiwanese films, both directed by the late Edward Yang (楊德昌), also ranked among the top 10 films in Asia.

Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien attends a news conference in Shanghai on June 16, 2015, for the release of his movie The Assassin. Photo: CNA

A Brighter Summer Day (牯嶺街少年殺人事件), a 1991 drama about two gangs, ranked third, while the 2000 romance Yi Yi: A One and a Two (一一) placed 10th.

The South Korean film festival’s list is updated every five years by curators from around the world, with the aim of highlighting and promoting Asian cinema internationally.

The previous rankings, released in 2015, shortlisted 113 movies. A Brighter Summer Day and A City of Sadness were in the top 10.

In other news, the Taiwanese animated film City of Lost Things (廢棄之城) has won another award, taking first prize at a children’s film festival in the US, the movie’s marketing company said on Nov. 13.

The animation by Taiwanese director Yee Chih-yen (易智言) won first prize for Best Animated Feature Film in the Professional Jury Awards category at the 38th Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF).

Voiced mainly by Taiwanese actors Joseph Chang (張孝全), Kwai Lun-mei (桂綸鎂) and River Huang (黃河), the film tells the story of a teenager named Leaf, who is a social outcast and does not think much of his life.

When Leaf stumbles into a place called the City of Lost Things, he finds unwanted and forgotten garbage and befriends an anthropomorphic plastic bag named Baggy. Together, they embark on a soul-searching adventure.

The film also gained recognition at last year’s 57th Golden Horse Awards, where it took home the prize for Best Animation Feature.

It was the first time in 22 years that a Taiwanese animation has won a prize at the Chicago festival. The Taiwanese cult classic Grandma and Her Ghosts (魔法阿媽) won the Certificate of Merit Feature Film and Video — Animation in 1999.

Taiwan celebrates a Mandarin center first

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Taiwan celebrates a Mandarin center first

PROMOTING EXCHANGES: Noisy-le-Grand’s deputy mayor said the community was ecstatic to have the center, which also teaches Taiwanese culture and values

Staff writer, with CNA, PARIS

The Taipei Representative Office in France on Saturday celebrated the inauguration of France’s first Taiwan Center for Mandarin Learning.

The center opened in September, but the celebration was postponed because of COVID-19 restrictions.

When developing its plan to open language centers overseas, the Overseas Community Affairs Council chose to collaborate with established Chinese-language schools.

Noisy-le-Grand Deputy Mayor Veronique Lachkar, front row, fourth right, and Representative to France Wu Chih-chung, front row, seventh right, attend the inauguration of France’s first Taiwan Center for Mandarin Learning in Noisy-le-Grand, France, on Saturday. Photo: CNA

Saturday’s inauguration was held at the Association Linguistique et Culturelle Chinoise (ALCC), a Chinese-langauge school that has served the eastern Parisian suburb of Noisy-le-Grand since 1989.

The center, the first of its kind in France, aims to promote bilateral exchanges by teaching Mandarin and traditional Chinese characters, along with Taiwanese culture and values.

Representative to France Wu Chih-chung (吳志中) and his deputy, Bernard Liu (劉邦治), attended the event.

In a speech, Wu praised the aesthetics of traditional Chinese characters and touted Taiwan as representative of the beauty of Chinese culture.

Noisy-le-Grand Deputy Mayor Veronique Lachkar said that the community was ecstatic about the center’s opening.

Lachkar thanked the ALCC director for her promotion of traditional Chinese, and cultural exchanges between France and Taiwan.

The center is one of 18 Chinese-language centers that the council has opened so far this year, including 15 in the US and one in Germany.

Joanne Shenandoah, celebrated Native American singer, dies

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Joanne Shenandoah, the celebrated Native American singer-songwriter who performed before world leaders and on high-profile stages, has died. She was 63.

The Native American Music Awards & Association posted on its website that Shenandoah, described as “Native America’s musical matriarch," died Monday night in Scottsdale, Arizona, after complications of abdominal bleeding.

“Joanne’s beautiful embellishing voice, strong Iroquois traditions, unequivocal elegance and courteous grace made her a prominent role model and highly respected musical matriarch among Native American communities as well as the mainstream music community at large," the organization said. “She sang with deep roots from her ancestors and flawlessly incorporated her oral traditions into contemporary Folk, Country and Americana formats."

Shenandoah was a member of the Wolf Clan of the Oneida Nation, and grew up in central New York state.

She made her recording debut in 1989, and her career went on to include numerous albums and collaborations.

Shenandoah won 14 Native American Music Awards, the most for a single artist. She was among the artists who contributed to “Sacred Ground: A Tribute to Mother Earth," which won the Grammy award for Best Native American music album in 2006, and was nominated twice for Grammys for her own recordings.

According to her website, Shenandoah performed in front of the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela, and played at locations including the White House and Carnegie Hall.

Shenandoah had suffered from health issues in recent years, including liver problems after she had a bacterial infection.

She is survived by her husband, daughter, grandson and two sisters.