×

Taiwan’s Golden Horse Film Festival to Open With Dementia Drama ‘Synapses’

Synapses,” a Taiwanese family drama directed by Chang Tso-chi, has been set as the opening film of the 2019 edition of the Golden Horse Film Festival in Taiwan. “The Garden of Evening Mists,” a Malaysia-set reconciliation drama directed by Taiwan’s Tom Lin Shu-yu, will close the event.

The festival, which runs Nov. 7-24, has not yet revealed its complete lineup, so it is too early to assess the full impact of the mainland Chinese boycott of the festival and its prestigious Golden Horse Film Awards. But the selection of two Taiwanese films may be indicative.

China’s National Film Administration has banned mainland Chinese talent and film from participating in the festival and awards as a result of last year’s prize ceremony, at which one of the winners called for Taiwanese independence. China regards Taiwan as a rebel province with which it will ultimately be reunited, by force if necessary.

The Golden Horse Awards are open to films produced in all variants of the Chinese language, including the Cantonese dialect. But in recent weeks it has become clear that several studios from Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong will follow the mainland example and shun this year’s prize ceremony on Nov. 23.

“Synapses,” starring Lu Hsueh-feng, is the story of a husband suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, a chaotic relationship with an adult daughter just out of jail and a secret disclosed by the visit of an acquaintance. Multiple Golden Horse winner Chang (“The Best of Times,” “When Love Comes”) based the screenplay on real events involving his mother.

The Garden of Evening Mists,” which stars Taiwan’s Sylvia Chang, Japan’s Hiroshi Abe, Malaysia’s Lee Sin-je and British actors David Oakes and John Hannah, is based on a novel by Malaysian author Twan Eng Tan, adapted by Scottish writer Richard Smith. It depicts the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp who seeks solace among the jungle-fringed plantations of Northern Malaya, where she grew up as a child.

The big-budget production is backed by HBO Asia and Astro Shaw, part of Malaysian pay-TV group Astro. International sales are handled by Korea’s CJ Entertainment.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Scarlett Johansson poses for photographers upon

    Scarlett Johansson 'Pushing' for All-Women Marvel Movie

    After the epic battle scene in “Avengers: Endgame” depicted the female superheroes uniting to protect Spider-Man from Thanos, Marvel fans started wondering if they’ll ever see the women unite for a standalone movie. “Captain Marvel” star Brie Larson generated even more buzz when she told Variety that she and other female co-stars have approached Marvel [...]

  • Ivana Lombardi Netflix

    Annapurna Film Head Ivana Lombardi Named Director of Indies at Netflix (EXCLUSIVE)

    Annapurna Pictures president of film Ivana Lombardi is moving across town to Netflix, after almost a year in her role at Megan Ellison’s company. As of Nov. 6, Lombardi will serve as director of independent films at the streamer. She will report directly to Lisa Nishimura, Netflix’s vice president of independent film and documentary features. [...]

  • Zoe Kravitz 'Big Little Lies' TV

    Zoe Kravitz to Play Catwoman in 'The Batman'

    “Big Little Lies” star Zoe Kravitz has been tapped to play Catwoman, the antiheroine and sometime love interest of the Caped Crusader, in Matt Reeves’ upcoming “The Batman.” Kravitz will star opposite Robert Pattinson as Batman. Pre-production on the Warner Bros.-DC Comics pic is expected to start this summer. No official start date has been [...]

  • Hadley Robinson Amy Poehler

    'Little Women' Actress Hadley Robinson to Star in Amy Poehler's 'Moxie'

    “Utopia” and “Little Women” actress Hadley Robinson has been tapped to star in Amy Poehler’s next directorial effort “Moxie.” Lauren Tsai is also on board to co-star in the Netflix movie. “Moxie” follows a teenage girl (Robinson) from a small town who is inspired by her mother’s Riot Girl past and starts a feminist revolution [...]

  • Samara Weaving

    'G.I. Joe' Spinoff 'Snake Eyes' Adds 'Ready or Not's' Samara Weaving

    Samara Weaving will join Henry Golding in the “G.I. Joe” spinoff, “Snake Eyes.” Haruka Abe, Ursula Corbero, Iko Uwais and Andrew Koji have also boarded the Paramount, Skydance and AllSpark movie. “The Captain” director Robert Schwentke is helming and Brian Goldner is producing. Evan Spiliotopoulos, who wrote “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Huntsman: Winter’s [...]

  • The Irishman

    'The Irishman' to Screen at Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre

    Netflix’s “The Irishman,” directed by Martin Scorsese, will screen at American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood  for two weeks starting Nov. 1. The screenings, announced Monday, are part of the limited theatrical run for the 209-minute crime drama, which premiered at the New York Film Festival on Sept. 27. Netflix will begin streaming “The Irishman” on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content