In case you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard more than your fair share of news about the coronavirus spreading across the world. If you have been living under a rock, however, good for you, that’s excellent social distancing. While daily life in Taipei and across Taiwan is going on pretty much as normal, it is still wise to take precautions and self-quarantine or isolate if you feel it’s necessary. A great way to pass the time curled up on the couch at home is by watching Netflix and since you’r planning to visit Taiwan, it’s only fitting that you watch some of the best movies and dramas from that the streaming service has to offer. Here are eight to binge right now.
A Sun (陽光普照)
Winner of Best Feature Film at the 56th Golden Horse Awards (the Taiwanese Oscars, basically), this film starring Chen Yi-wen, Samantha Ko, Wu Chien-ho and Liu Kuan-ting is a drama focusing on a troubled family of four, in particular their teenage son. It premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, before also showing at the Tokyo International Film Festival.
Green Door (魂囚西門)
A very watchable six-part series about a Taiwanese psychologist who can see ghosts from both the past and the future, Green Door was nominated for three Golden Bell Awards (Taiwanese TV awards) having originally been released on Taiwanese Public Television Service. Wei Song-yan (Jam Hsiao), wakes up from a dream in his bed in Taipei having moved back from New York to start a therapy practice called Green Door in Ximending and that’s all we’re gonna tell you… (Read more: 8 Awesome Things to Do on American Street, Ximending, Taipei)
A Boy Named Flora A (花甲男孩轉大人)
A heartwarming family story, a lazy 28-year-old re-examines his life after his family gathers to say goodbye to a dying grandmother who refuses to pass away. The series comprises of seven 85-minute-plus episodes. Perfect for passing your quarantine time away!
Dear Ex (誰先愛上他的)
Teenager Song Cheng-xi becomes trapped in the middle of a feud between his mother and a man who is both the lover and insurance beneficiary of his recently deceased father. If that doesn’t spark your curiosity, we don’t know what will. Dear Ex won several awards nationally and was also selected as the Taiwanese entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards, but in the end it was not nominated. (You might also like: Gay Couple’s Fatherhood Dreams)
The Great Buddha+ (大佛普拉斯)
According to Variety, “Two small-town nobodies who get cheap thrills from car dash-cam videos lay eyes on more than they can handle in The Great Buddha+, a mordant black comedy that’s a digital-era homage to Rear Window.” Directed by Huang Hsin-yao, it won top prize at the 19th Taipei Film Festival and like Dear Ex, it had its shot at Academy Awards glory, but was also not nominated.
On Children (你的孩子不是你的孩子)
Another series about family dysfunction – a popular theme in Taiwanese dramas – On Children explores Taiwanese societal pressures placed on children and how it impacts the children themselves as well as their parents. Check out what Decider had to say about it here.
The Bold, the Corrupt, and the Beautiful (血觀音)
A layered, somewhat confusing, story from director Yang Ya-che set in 1980s Taiwan, The Bold, the Corrupt, and the Beautiful really requires you to read between the lines. Madame Tang, is an antique dealer dealing with high ranking government officials and the rich. Her family’s life is disrupted when the family of their close friend is murdered. Brace yourself for a game of survival.
A Brighter Summer Day (牯嶺街少年殺人事件)
Considered by many as a masterpiece of contemporary cinema, this Taiwanese epic is almost four hours long. A coming-of-age drama, the film, that touches on several human-centered themes, missed out on being nominated for the 64th Academy Awards, but took prizes at several Asian film festivals. It also has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is definitely nothing to be sniffed at.
(cover photo: A Boy Named Flora A, Green Door, A Sun, Dear Ex)