Chinese Visual Festival

Vision Taiwan: Thanatos, Drunk

An award-winning and internationally acclaimed look at the struggles of outsiders in modern Taiwan


Dir. Chang Tso Chi
Taiwan, 2015
In Mandarin and dialect with Chinese and English subtitles
107 mins

One of the most internationally acclaimed Taiwanese films of the last few years Thanatos, Drunk swept the boards at the 2015 Golden Horse and Taipei Film Awards, as well as winning top honours at Berlin, Tokyo and other festivals around the world. The film follows two brothers, Rat (Lee Hong Chi) and Shanghe (Huang Shang Ho), who are both looking for jobs in order to survive, while also looking for themselves and longing to find a foothold in life. The hard-drinking Rat takes care of their alcoholic mother and sells vegetables at the local market, where he meets a young mute prostitute (Chang Ning), who he saves from a violent client. Meanwhile the gay Shanghe, recently returned from the US, finds himself attracted to Rat’s flatmate, leading to complications in their relationship. Soon enough, the past catches up with the two young men with violent consequences.

A stunningly unconventional portrait of outsiders trying to keep afloat in a modern Taiwanese society that shuns them, Thanatos, Drunk is a fascinatingly complex film, with a fractured narrative that intermingles the past and present in engrossing fashion. Beautifully shot, the constantly-surprising film is packed with moments of quiet poignancy, visual poetry and strong performances, marking it as a bold and uncompromising piece of fiercely independent cinema that’s more than worthy of its accolades.

Winner – ELSE – The Siegessäule Readers’ Jury Award, 65th Berlin International Film Festival 2015

Winner – Grand Prize, Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Press Award, 17th Taipei Film Awards 2015

Winner – Best Feature Film, Best New Performer, Best Supporting Actress, Original Music Award for Best Film, Best Film Editing, 52th Golden Horse Film Awards 2015

Winner – Grand Prize, 16th Tokyo Filmex 2015

Winner – Golden Montgolfiere, 37th Three Continents Festival 2015

There will be a Q&A with Huang Shang-ho after the screening.




The screening of Thanatos, Drunk and the presence of Huang Shang-ho are made possible with support from the Cultural Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK.


About Chang Tso Chi

Born in 1961, Chang Tso Chi’s film career began in 1987. He followed and learned from many master film directors, such as Yu Kan Ping, Hou Hsiao Hsien and Tsui Hark. In 1990, he started to direct, working on several television dramas and films, two of which in 2000 and 2012 respectively won him Best Feature Film at the prestigious Golden Horse Awards, known as the ‘Oscars of Taiwan’. He was also awarded with three prizes in Tokyo International Film Festival. In 2011, Chang Tso Chi was laureled with National Award for Arts, the highest honour in Taiwan’s art world and following in the footsteps of after master film director, Hou Hsiao Hsien.


Ah Chung (1996)
Darkness & Light (1999)
The Best of Times (2002)
Soul of a Demon (2006)
How Are You, Dad? (2009)
When Love Comes (2010)
A Time in Quchi (2013)

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