Chinese Blockbusters Miss Out in Taiwan Quota Lottery

Taiwan has its own quota for restricting Chinese movies

The annual process that decides which mainland movies can screen on the self-ruled island has many critics.

Taiwan has issued its annual list of 10 mainland Chinese movies allowed to screen on the self-ruled island. Yet again, there was no place for some of the biggest movies from the world's second-biggest film market.

This year's quota includes A Fool, foreign-language Oscar submission The Nightingale, Meet Miss Anxiety and Dearest, but there was no room for big hitters such as Jiang Wen's Gone with the Bullets, Ning Hao's Breakup Buddies, Tsui Hark's The Taking of Tiger Mountain or Where Are We Going, Dad?

Other successful submissions include The Wrath of Vajra, Door of Happiness, Scarlet Heart, Somewhere Only We Know and The Coffin in the Mountain. The Taiwanese quota system doesn't apply to Hollywood movies.

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Taiwan has a population of around 23 million, and while it is dwarfed by mainland China's 1.3 billion people, it still is a sizeable market for Chinese-language movies.

Taiwan has been self-ruled since Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang nationalists lost the Chinese civil war with Mao Zedong’s communists and fled across the strait of Taiwan in 1949.

Although both mainland China and Taiwan speak Mandarin Chinese, and actors and directors from Taiwan have been very successful in the People's Republic of China, the two are bitter rivals.

In November, Taiwan revised its film quota rules to increase the number of movies from mainland China from 10 to allow more award-winning Chinese films into Taiwanese cinemas.

If a movie wins at a film festival, such as Cannes or Berlin, or wins an Oscar or Taiwan's Golden Horse award, then it can apply directly for distribution and does not have to go through the current process, where lots are drawn for mainland films.

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This process angers some who wonder why Hollywood movies get in unrestricted. They accuse Taiwan's Ministry of Culture of making decisions based on political considerations.

China considers Taiwan a renegade province, and while relations have become closer in recent years under the presidency of Ma Ying-jeou, political tensions remain especially strong on matters of culture.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan

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