女子學校Directed by Lee Mi-Mi
Cast: Chin Han, Chou Dan-wei, Shen Yan, Tien Niu
New 2K restoration by the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute
Chih-ting and Chia-lin are inseparable. Every morning, they bike together to their all-girl’s high school, and every evening, they hang out in each other’s homes, doing schoolwork and gossiping, never seen in the company of other peers. One might call them best friends. But when a classmate starts a rumor calling them something else (“homosexual”), Chih-ting and Chia-lin’s bond is put to the test. Soon, everyone is using the term—from Chia-lin’s protective older sister to the school’s English teacher, played by Chin Han. Everyone but Chih-ting and Chia-lin, whose incipient same-sex affection has no name.
A budding work of queer cinema by one of Taiwan’s pioneering woman directors, the independently-produced GIRL’S SCHOOL explores lesbian (mis-)identities in the context of teenage disaffection and the fear of being unlovable. While it strains to maintain a conservative status quo, never able to embrace same-sex romance the way Ang Lee and Zero Chou would in later decades, the film’s ebullient aesthetics—the musical montages, the dramatic zoom-ins and slow motion—keep the subtextual possibility of love pulsating on the surface. Straddling the romantic buoyancy of 1970s romantic melodramas and the gentle naturalism of the Taiwan New Cinema to come, GIRL’S SCHOOL is a stunning time capsule of queerness in a society in transition.