Skip to main content

RED LOTUS SOCIETY

Taiwan, 1994 (MIFF 1995)

Director: Stan Lai

From TV talk show ritual to rock stardom dreams, pop culture is the site for magic and spirituality amidst today's soulless materialism. For teenage Ahda, son of a hilariously bad quack herbalist, everyday life is a pressure cooker of college entrance exams, army conscription papers, and trying to earn a living. But Ahda wants to transcend these restrictions by learning 'vaulting'—the ancient martial art of flying seen in Hong Kong Swordsman films, especially those of Tsui Hark.

Taiwanese director Stan Lai's ironic comedy delivers on the promise of his debut, The Peach Blossom Lan. At first, the line between Ahda's fan­tasies and reality is perfectly clear, but more and more goes wrong in his life and as he gets more desperate, the work world and his fantasies mix. Skilfully and imperceptibly, Lai leads us to that magical realist point where scepticism wavers and we suspend disbelief almost as eagerly as Ahda himself.

See also...

A BORROWED LIFE

... ... Too often, children only understand their par­ents when it's all too late. First time director Wu Nien-jen was long established as Taiwan's top screenwriter before being moved to make ... More »

CONFUCIAN CONFUSION, A

"Sleek, chic and hysterical, the film owes more to Preston Sturges than Michelangelo Antonioni." - Cinematheque Ontario ... Set over a couple of frenetic days in a Taipei entertainment corporation, A ... More »

VIVE L'AMOUR

... ... Few recent Films have divided audiences and excited debate like Vive L'Amour, winner of the Golden Lion at Venice last year. Despite the romantic title, the film is about lack of love and ... More »

BUDDHA BLESS AMERICA

Taiwan's colonial past is brought into sharp and ironic relief in Wu Nien-jen's satiric com­edy. Though the settings and cultural references are very specific, audiences will have no trouble ... More »

HELP ME EROS

“Blessed with an intense sympathy for his vulnerable characters, Lee [Kang-sheng] confidently combines social themes of poignant authenticity with striking visual elements.” - Toronto ... More »

TOO YOUNG

Languid pace, gorgeous photography and a simple but emotive plot make this superb featurette one of the treasures worth unearthing at this year's Festival. Mo is a withdrawn and introspective ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director