Reel Asia: Three Women Filmmakers from Taiwan, South Korea and Bangladesh

Reel Asia: Three Women Filmmakers from Taiwan, South Korea and Bangladesh

A two-day mini-festival celebrating Asian women filmmakers’ contribution to world cinema, featuring Yu-shan Huang (Taiwan), Soyoung Kim (South Korea) and Rubaiyat Hossain (Bangladesh). All three filmmakers are current or former NYU Cinema Studies students.  

Michelson Theater, Department of Cinema Studies
721 Broadway, 6th Floor

Friday, March 25

1:30 PM Welcome and Introduction

1:45 PM The Twin Bracelets (1990, Taiwan, 99 min., dir. Yu-shan Huang)

3:15 PM Coffee Break

3:30 PM Meherjaan (2011, Bangladesh, 119 min., dir Rubaiyat Hossain)

5:30 PM Discussion with Yu-shan Huang and Rubaiyat Hossain, moderated by Prof. Zhen Zhang (Cinema Studies).

Saturday, March 26

1:30 PM Welcome and Introduction

1:45 PM The Strait Story (2005, Taiwan, 105 min., dir. Yu-shan Huang)

3:15 PM Coffee Break

3:30 PM Heart of Snow, Heart of Blood (2014, South Korea, 98 min., dir. Soyoung Kim, aka Jeong Kim)

5:30 PM Discussion with Yu-shan Huang and Soyoung Kim, moderated by Prof. JungBong Choi (Cinema Studies).


Co-sponsored by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York.
Yu-shan Huang's screenings are part of the Taipei Cultural Center in New York's 2016 Taiwan Women’s Film Series, featuring six films related to Taiwanese women’s suffering and passion. View the series schedule here.

Presented by the Asian Film and Media Initiative in the Department of Cinema Studies, as part of the Tisch School of the Arts 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Special thanks to NYU East Asian Studies.

This event is free and open to the public.  


About the Filmmakers

Yu-shan Huang
Yu-shan Huang, born 1954, is an accomplished Chinese filmmaker from Penghu Island, Taiwan. Being well-known for her commitment to women's issues, she is also a founder or co-founder of numerous feminist networks and platforms, including Taiwan’s Women’s Make Waves film festival, and the South Taiwan Film Festival, which features works of independent filmmakers from many countries. Returning to Taiwan after obtaining her MA in Cinema Studies, Tisch School of the Arts at NYU in 1982, Yu-shan Huang launched her career as a filmmaker and film critic.  She became quite famous internationally as the director of the film The Twin Bracelets, which critiques the suppression of women - and shows them justly revolting against it. Since the 1990s, Yu-shan Huang has directed a number of other noteworthy films, such as Peony BirdsSpring CactusThe Strait StoryThe Song of Cha-tian MountainThe Forgotten and Southern Night, as well as many documentaries. Her latest feature, Taste of Life, was released in Taiwan in 2015. Apart from working as an independent film director, she also teaches film-making at Tainan National University of the Arts (Taiwan).

Soyoung Kim (filmmaker alias Jeong Kim)
As an independent filmmaker, Soyoung Kim directed the Women’s History Trilogy (2004, documentaries), which screened at the Yamagata, Hong Kong and Pesaro Film Festivals, among many others. Her first feature-length film, Viewfinder, was released in theaters in 2010. She is currently completing her Exile Trilogy, concerning the politics of affect, landscape, and gender of post-Soviet Koreans in Central Asia. The first film of the trilogy, Heart of Snow, Heart of Blood (2014), will screen at NYU.

Soyoung Kim is also a professor of Cinema Studies at Korean National University of Arts, is a co-director of Trans Asian Screen Culture Institute, chief editor of Trans: Journal of Visual Culture Studies, and editorial collective member for Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. She has taught at UC Berkeley and UC Irvine and was a visiting research fellow at Asia Research Institute at NUS. Her publications have been enormously influential in Korean cinema studies, including Cartography of Catastrophe, Emergence and Fantasy, The Primal Scenes of Korean Cinema; Ten Scenes from Korean Cinema; and Specters of Modernity: Fantastic Korean Cinema.

Rubaiyat Hossain
Rubaiyat Hossain, director, writer, production designer and an actor of Meherjaan. Rubaiyat Hossain is one of Bangladesh’s handful of female filmmakers, known for her critically acclaimed debut feature film Meherjaan (2011), which faced political and cultural wrath in Bangladesh for its anti-war narrative, and its critique of masculine nationalism from a feminine point of view. The film was stripped down from theaters across Bangladesh only one week after its release, and is still prohibited from being screened. Rubaiyat has completed her B.A. in Women Studies from Smith College, USA and M.A. in South Asian Studies from University of Pennsylvania.  Currently she lives between Dhaka and New York making films and attending Tisch School of Arts at New York University in Cinema Studies.

Her second feature film Under Construction (2015) is now on it’s festival tour.


About the Films

Twin Bracelets
1990, Taiwan, 99 min., dir. Yu-shan Huang
Screening Friday, March 25 at 1:45 PM
In a small Chinese fishing town, two teenage girls who are best friends become torn apart when one becomes happily married to a stranger and the other is cruelly betrothed to the abusive son of a wealthy family. Seeking to free herself from a lifetime of abuse, she desperately looks for a way out. A moving, ultimately tragic film, Twin Bracelets is remarkable for its portrayal of an independent woman's commitment to her love. The film was an audience favorite at festival screenings worldwide, and won the 1992 San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Award for Best Feature.

2011, Bangladesh, 119 min., dir Rubaiyat Hossain
Screening Friday, March 25 at 3:30 PM
In 1971, during Bangladesh’s war of independence, Meher falls in love with a soldier from the enemy side. When her love is discovered, she is shamed and silenced by her family and society. Today 38 years after the war, Meher has a visitor she cannot turn down. Sarah—a ‘war-child,’ Meher’s cousin Neela’s daughter, who was given away for adoption has come back to piece together her past. Together, these two women must re-tell history through their stories in order to cut through the stigmas and walk into light.

Meherjaan is a film about loving the Other. Meherjaan gives away with the unitary masculine narrative in order to usher in an emotional multiplicity of feminine emotion and sensibility. This film critiques certain pitfalls of nationalism that create conditions to justify war, killing and violence. Finally, Meherjaan attempts to offer an aesthetic solution to war and violence by taking refuge in love and spiritual submission.

The Strait Story
2005, Taiwan, 105 min., dir. Yu-shan Huang
Screening Saturday, March 26 at 1:45 PM
The year is 1943, and Taiwan is under Japanese colonization. After finishing his studies in Japan, famed Taiwanese sculptor and painter Ching-Cheng Huang receives an offer to teach in Beiping Art School. He decides to visit friends and family back home before leaving for China. He boards the passenger liner Takachiho Maru in Kobe, Japan, with his girlfriend, a piano player. Tragically, the luxurious liner is torpedoed by an American submarine and sinks off the coast of Keelung, Taiwan.

More than 1000 lives were claimed, and only a few survivors were rescued from two lifeboats. This, the third most disastrous shipwreck in world history, should have been remembered as important episode in Taiwanese history. However, instead of commemorating the tragedy, discussions and inquiries about the incident were forbidden by the island’s Japanese colonial governor. As a result, the story of Takachiho Maru sunk with the liner and its passengers. Ching-Cheng Huang, perhaps one of the most talented artists Taiwan had ever produced, was forgotten as well.

Many years later, Shou-shou, a fine art restorer with a crippling illness, finds one of Huang’s paintings in an exhibition. In order to restore the painting, Shou-shou learns about the artist, the stories behind his work, and his death at sea. She recreates the story of the painting “Woman in Black," and romantically imagines the ways the artist painted his girlfriend. The more she studies, the more inspired she becomes. Restoring Huang’s painting thus becomes Shou-shou’s way of restoring herself.

Heart of Snow, Heart of Blood
2014, South Korea, 98 min., dir. Soyoung Kim, aka Jeong Kim
Screening Saturday, March 26 at 3:3O PM
Heart of Snow, Heart of Blood, the first part of Jeong Kim's Exile Trilogy, is a story about Korean diaspora in Kazakhstan. Moving from Central Asia to Ansan, South Korea, this work traverses the past, future and present of Korean diaspora (Koryo people) who were subject to mass deportation by Stalin in 1937 from Far East Russia to Central Asia. The film hauntingly evokes the visceral affects of explusion and dispersion reflected through the vast landscape of the Tien Mountains. It is a great story of the survival and revival of the Koryo people.