Renowned Taiwan director Tsai Ming-liang is visiting Leeds between 15 and 16 November 2010. As one of the most inspirational filmmakers on the art-house circuit, the Centre for World Cinemas (CWC), White Rose East Asian Centre (WREAC), University of Leeds and the Taipei Representative Office in the UK are organizing a Tsai Ming-liang Study Day on 16 November to examine Tsai's work closely. The Study Day is part of the 2010 Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF).
The Tsai Ming-liang Study Day will consist of a workshop in the morning for a maximum of 30 scholars and students, followed by a lunch reception with the Director himself at the University of Leeds.
There will also be 'an audience with Tsai Ming-liang' (open to public) in the afternoon, including a screening of Tsai's short film, Madame Butterfly and a question and answer session with Tsai at the Hyde Park Picture House. (Free tickets from the LIFF box office (www.leedsfilm.com)) To mark the occasion, Leeds International Film Festival will present the Golden Owl Award to Tsai to celebrate his achievement and contributions to world cinema.
Three specialists in Tsai Ming-liang's work are invited to present their research in the morning of 16 November and they are:
· Dr Song Hwee Lim, Senior Lecturer, Film Studies, University of Exeter
· Dr Cecília Antakly de Mello, Fapesp Postdoctoral Fellow, University of São Paulo, Brazil
· Tiago de Luca, PhD Candidate, University of Leeds
The workshop will be chaired by Professor Lúcia Nagib, Director of the Centre for World Cinemas. Dr Ming-Yeh Rawnsley of the Institute of Communications Studies (ICS), University of Leeds, will work as event co-ordinator and translator for Tsai Ming-liang. The workshop will be open to UK-based specialists and postgraduate students at the University of Leeds.
About Tsai Ming-Liang
With nine feature-length films in his portfolio, Taipei-based Tsai Ming-liang has become one of the most distinctive and creative voices in world cinema over the last two decades. After working in theatre and television, the award-winning director launched his filmmaking career in 1992 with Rebels of Neon God, a realistic portrayal of Taipei's disaffected youth. In the space of a decade, Tsai released a string of groundbreaking films - Vive L'amour (1994), The River (1997), The Hole (1998), What Time Is It there? (2000) – which impressed for their aesthetic consistency and originality, as well as their acute social criticism. In the new millennium, Tsai continued to surprise and marvel audiences with films such as Goodbye Dragon Inn (2003), an elegiac mourning on the demise of the theatrical film experience; The Wayward Cloud (2005), a wacky musical-porn which pushed the director's own style to new heights; and I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (2007), the first film set in the director's birthplace, Malaysia. His latest film is Face (2009), containing a large French cast and entirely set in Paris's Louvre Museum.
Featuring the same actors (notably Lee Kang-sheng), structure and style, Tsai's films intermingle into one diffuse mass, presenting narratives with threads that insidiously weave into one another. Revolving around similar themes and motifs – including water, watermelons and cockroaches – his is a resolutely urban universe peopled by isolated, laconic characters whose eccentric domestic habits and bodily faculties we follow in scrupulous detail through static long takes, the director's stylistic hallmark. These are marginalized characters longing for love, listlessly wandering through the city's neon-lit streets, run-down shopping malls and decrepit cruising areas. But this dystopian view of modern life is counter-balanced in Tsai's cinema by a loving physical humour, which infuses his films with tenderness and in which one may glimpse signs of hope.