Solitude, Alienation, the End of the World? —— “APOCALYPSE of Film Festival” responds to the times

2020 is finally coming to an end.

Looking back, it’s easy to see the past 12 months as an “unforgettable” year of change.

Since the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus, the whole world has been put on lockdown in some form or another.

Border controls, civil wars, rebellion, and political struggles keep op happening around the world.

Some even say that World War III may break out at any moment…

Facing such potential crises, how can human beings survive?

APOCALYPSE of Film Festival may help you answer this question, or should I say, find a way out.

APOCALYPSE of Film Festival, will take place in SPOT-Taipei (Taipei Film House) on Zhongshan North Road, starting tomorrow December 18th to December 31st, marking it as the last thematic film festival of 2020.

Inspired by the novel of the same name, “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World” (世界の終りとハードボイルド・ワンダーランド) , a novel by Haruki Murakami (村上 春樹) , the film festival aims to extract the solitude and alienation of humanity and the prophecy of the future from the novel, and turns them into stepping stones for the proceeding modern society, making fictional fantasy into a reflection of reality.

APOCALYPSE of Film Festival thus encourages people to think about the turbulent state of society, the wider world even through the form of art and film.

The film festival will be showcasing 12 related movies, leading the audience to think about the existence of humans in such a chaotic time.

Benny’s Video (1993)

Dir. Michael Haneke

Prod DB © Wega Film / DR
BENNY’S VIDEO (BENNY’S VIDEO) de Michael Haneke 1992 AUS/SUI
avec Arno Frisch
image video, filmer

The process of “dying” played slowly on the screen. Trigger pulled, the falling of the dead pig kicked off this bloody tragedy.

The movie centers on a fourteen-year-old boy, Benny, and his video tapes.

The director, Michael Haneke, plays with the playback function of video cameras, which downplays Benny’s recognition of “death”.

The film shows the alienation between parents and children and the indifference of the bourgeois family in the face of accidents and crime.

Haneke cleverly uses  an extremely cold tone and the strong contrast of light and shadow to sharply present the distortion of human nature and the inner insanity hidden behind the material appearance.

You will feel a deep sense of cold while watching this film, which is exactly what Haneke wants to convey to his audience.

With that feeling in mind, think about the connection between the media and reality.

“Death” recorded in Benny’s video tapes, people dying of COVID-19 around the world, and people struggling to survive wars and riots wherever they may be..…

The line between reality and image can be blurred and ambiguous when such real life reproductions (of Benny’s video) exist.

Cyclo (1995)

Dir. Tran Ang Hung

In the bustling downtown of Ho Chi Minh City, the young cyclo driver (starred Tony Leung Chiu Wai) , struggles to survive.

Facing countless hardships on the bottom rung of society, he finally dances with the Devil and joins a gang.

This film mainly centers on a young man’s life and struggles with gang violence.

The Vietnamese director, Tran Anh Hung reveals the ugliness of reality by depicting the helpless marginalized people, living like parasites, struggling to harm each other in their own bid for survival.

Although filled with wordless communication, Hung’s bold and vivid film style still portraits Vietnamese society as precise combining ugliness and poetic exploration.

The movie can be seen as a response and reflection of the Vietnam Renovation, standing (also known as the August Revolution) facing the new with the ‘old’ an ever present – living in a time when cultural integration and conflicts occur so often, what should we do?

The movie may not give the audience a direct answer, but even by simply throwing around ideas about this issue, we might just maintain a foothold on sanity in this chaotic time.

Tony Takitani (2006)

Dir. Jun Ichikawa

This is a story about Tony Takitani; a lonely man.

The movie is based on the classic novel of the same name by Haruki Murakami, and Jun Ichikawa captures the central theme of the novel; solitude, and the eventual downplay of the importance of death itself.

It’s a movie that should be experienced through the senses.

The cold tone with minimalist composition and the constant sticking of scenes creates a sense of a frozen world, as if life is itself stuck, and emotions faded.

The movie is not only a sensual feast; but also, by way of Jun Ichikawa’s aesthetic film style, he accurately depicts the core theme of Haruki Murakami’s story – the void of emotion and the lonely essence of life.

Technology seems to break the boundaries and bring people closer nowadays, yet the turmoil in the world around us exposes loneliness and alienation.

We maybe all live in a “hundred years of solitude”, but like Murakami and Ichikawa, we are all constantly discovering that the value of humanity in such solitude is essential.


So, if you’re feeling lost in such chaotic times, why not go to the APOCALYPSE of Film Festival?

We hope you enjoy the classics we have looked at, and find a way to survive in your own specific time and place, with strength.

▎ APOCALYPSE of Film Festival《世界末日與冷酷異境影展》|2020.12.18 - 2020.12.31

▎ APOCALYPSE of Film Festival website: here.

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