A FESTIVAL that began during the pandemic is returning to Scotland this week to shine a light on little-known gems of Taiwanese cinema.

After a successful first year, ­Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh is now ­expanding its reach with screenings in Glasgow as well as the capital, along with a free digital programme of films and talk. Many of the films are UK premieres, dating from the 1930s up to 2020.

With the theme of Disruptions and Transformations inspired by the fast-changing and unsettling world of the past few years, the Festival will explore both the monumental historic shifts Taiwanese society has experienced over the decades while also portraying the seemingly small disruptions of everyday life.

War, urban life and the ­struggles of the LGBTQ+ community are ­covered and, as part of their ­special climate-­focused strand in the run-up to COP26, Glasgow Film ­Theatre will host a screening of two ­documentaries showing how ­Taiwanese ­filmmakers address ­environmental issues caused by economic and industrial ­“progress”.

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Other festival highlights include Sounds in Silence, a double bill of ­silent cinema gems offering an ­extraordinary glimpse into the ­everyday lives of Taiwanese people in the early and mid-20th century. The Edinburgh screening features a new score from acclaimed composer and musician Lim Giong and live ­music by Glasgow-based experimental ­musician Rory Green.

In Splendid Float, a Taoist priest doubles as a drag queen by the name of Rose who performs at various nightclubs. It is described as “an ­aesthetically stunning, lightly ­humorous and dramatic film that ­confronts ­traditional gender roles and explores the themes of ­conformity, grief, acceptance, personal struggle, and identity”.

The Best Secret Agent is the first ­Taiwanese-language spy film ­produced in Taiwan and a remake of the 1945 movie of the same name that caused a sensation in Shanghai. It is set during the Sino-Japanese War, ­focusing on a father and daughter who are fleeing from the Japanese occupation.

“When we were making the ­selection, we wanted to encourage audiences to look beyond the canons and fall in love with films that are overdue the world’s applause,” said co-curator Chiu Yi-Chieh.

Chief curator Liu Kuan-Ping said she was pleased the festival would be able to stage in-person screenings as well as the digital programme.

“We would like to thank the ­Ministry of Culture in Taiwan, our generous sponsor, as well as our partners Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute who have been instrumental in securing some of the cinematic gems we are now able to share with our UK audiences,” she said.