Taiwanese Film and Cultural Festival Takes Center Stage at The University of Scranton

Sep 6, 2012

The University of Scranton will screen two award-winning Taiwanese films and host the author of one and the director of the other at a Taiwanese Film and Cultural Festival Monday, Oct. 1, and Tuesday, Oct. 2.

Part of the third annual cultural “Tour of Asia,” the films, shown with English subtitles, are presented by The Taipei Cultural Center and the Scranton’s Asian Studies Program, in collaboration with the Schemel Forum, a program of the Weinberg Memorial Library, and Women’s Studies. Both screenings will be at held at the Moskovitz Theater, on the fourth floor of the DeNaples Center on campus.

“The Moon Also Rises,” a movie about a mother-daughter relationship and the tension between different kinds of love, will be shown on Oct. 1 at 5:30 p.m. The film is based on the novel “The Lotus in the Western Paradise,” written by Ang Li, who is one of Taiwan’s most internationally celebrated authors. Li’s works have been translated into English, German, Japanese and other languages. In 2004, she was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. Li will lead a discussion following the screening and be on hand for the film festival’s opening night reception, which will follow immediately.

The festival continues on Oct. 2 at 5:30 p.m. with “The Song of Cha-Tian Mountain,” which is based on Chung Chao-cheng’s “Taiwanese Trilogy.” Depicting Taiwan’s struggles under colonialism during the first half of the 20th century, the film explores the subtleties of human nature and the power of the human spirit. It is a tribute to how, amid large historical currents, ordinary people survive and persevere in their ideals. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Yu-shan Huang, one of Taiwan’s leading directors, whose work includes feature films and documentaries and displays her deep concern for women’s issues.

“I am especially excited about bringing these two films to our region,” said Ann Pang-White, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Philosophy Department, and director of the Asian Studies Program at The University of Scranton. “Unlike prior events sponsored by the Asian Studies Program, these films deal with more sensitive and complex issues concerning cultural prejudices, social mores and love.” Both are based on works of literature and feature either a female author or a female director.

The driving force behind the Taiwanese Film and Cultural Festival, Dr. Pang-White began this annual event in collaboration with the Taiwanese government through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in fall 2010. One year ago, the University became the first charter member of the Taiwan Academy (which now includes 88 prestigious universities from 33 countries), a nonprofit organization that promotes cultural ties between Taiwan and the international community.

“Bridging cultural differences is one of my personal passions,” said Dr. Pang-White. “How can we be agents of change in making the world a better place?” In 2010, supported by many devoted colleagues, she helped the University launch the Asian Studies Concentration. The program is a vital platform for seeking cooperative opportunities with many community and external organizations, as well as governmental agencies with connections to Asia. “This is, I believe, an authentic way to introduce the cultures of the Asian region to the northeastern Pennsylvania community,” she said.

The programs are free and open to the public. For more information about the Taiwanese Film and Cultural Festival, contact Julee Modzelewski, faculty secretary, at 941-6333 or julee.modzelewski@scranton.edu, or Dr. Pang-White at ann.pang-white@scranton.edu.  

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