Films & Schedules

  • Winds of September
    Jiu Jiang Feng

  • Tom Shu-Yu Lin

107 minutes

Production Company:
Film Mall/ Ocean Deep Films
Eric Tsang, Yeh Jufeng
Henry Tsai, Tom Shu-Yu Lin
Production Designer:
Lee Tien-Chue
Fisher Yu
Chen Hsiao-Dong
Chou Cheng, Frank Cheng
Blaire Ko
Principal Cast: Rhydian Vaughan, Chang Chieh, Wang Bo-Chieh, Sheng Wei-Nian

Tuesday September 0907:45PM AMC 5 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Thursday September 1112:30PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 4 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1309:15AM VARSITY 3 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Casting oblique light on the twilight of innocence, Winds of September gently strolls down a memory lane of high-school reminiscences to candidly expose the blurred, ambiguous zones at the threshold to adulthood. A remarkable debut by emerging talent Tom Shu-Yu Lin, the film is the latest entry in the insular genre of Taiwanese youth movies, and follows the recent success of works like Yee Chih-yen's Blue Gate Crossing or Leste Chen's Eternal Summer.

Borrowing light touches of realism from his homeland's New Wave, Lin translates autobiographical elements with unpretentious simplicity, crafting cinematic recollections into a clean vision and a fluidly moving narrative. He graduates with honours to the school of filmmakers who speak the universal language of commercial auteurism while rediscovering grace and novelty in themes frequently exploited in coming-of-age dramas.

In the ninth lunar month, a lively breeze sweeps the streets of Hsinchu, a small town west of Taipei. It murmurs of change, pushing the future, urging the unknown, and shaking the foliage of an old tree under whose branches a group of adolescents meet. Headed by the charismatic, handsome heartthrob Yen (Rhydian Vaughan), the high-school boys gather to read comics, talk about girls, discuss how to avoid being punished at school and generally strengthen the already solid bond of male complicity. Recording the months preceding the boys' graduation in 1997 with touching honesty, the script incorporates the first Taiwanese game-fixing baseball scandal of those years as a metaphor that contextualizes their loss of innocence.

Supported by its father figure, actor and producer Eric Tsang, Winds of September is the first part of a planned trilogy about youth in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong. It features an irresistible authenticity and possesses simple qualities: linear, smooth storytelling, good acting and an impatient, captivating tempo that adds to a charming visual experience. As the apparently indissoluble friendship between Yen and Hsiao Tang (Chang Chieh) crumbles under suspicions of betrayal and the boys experience love, hurt and death, the story unfolds at the melancholic yet vivacious pulse of adolescence.

Giovanna Fulvi

Tom Shu-Yu Lin grew up in both Taiwan and the United States, and received an M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts. He has made the short films The Olfactory System (97), Parachute Kids (02) and The Pain of Others (05). Winds of September (08) is his first feature.

Cadillac People's Choice Award