The End of the Track

Taiwan|1970|B&W|91 min|DCP|Mandarin|Chi & Eng subtitles
Scanned from 35mm print.
29.05.2020 (Fri) 19:50 BC

Dir: Mou Tun-Fei
Scr: Su Guang-Shien, Mou Chia
Cinematographer: Chen Chung-Hsin
Cast: David Meyer, Donald Chua, Liou Yiin-Shang

Mou Tun-Fei’s second feature film follows his introspective and rebellious streak while exploring the taboo subject of sexuality. Two secondary schoolboys have a close relationship. When one of them suddenly dies during a run, the other boy blames himself for it. Since then, he copes with his feelings by visiting his late friend’s parents and helping out at their noodle stall regularly. Yet his longing for his friend and confusion about life still haunt him. The film’s handling of a young friendship is realistic and straightforward, while its mention of homosexuality confronts the biases in society. The protagonist is willing to atone for his mistakes even though he has to humble himself with work that is against his middle-class values. It shows a diverse range by experimenting with zooming, freeze-frame shots, quick cuts and internal monologues. The scene where the characters push a cart together in the rain signals the film’s emphasis on symbolism. The beginning and ending echo each other with unfathomable darkness and fatalistic tone, adding a stream of consciousness on the film’s realism framework. Together with the director’s first film, this work was thought to be lost for decades. Its rediscovery can rewrite the ancestry of New Taiwanese Cinema.

Mou Tun-Fei (1941-2019)
Born in Shandong, China, Mou Tun-Fei relocated to Taiwan in 1949. After graduating from the National School of Arts, he made I Didn’t Dare to Tell You (1969) and The End of the Track with funding from friends. He joined the Shaw Brothers (HK) Ltd. in Hong Kong in the 1970s. His directorial efforts such as Lost Souls (1980), Men Behind the Sun (1988) and Trilogy of Lust (1995) are infamous for their use of violence, which garnered the reputation of exploitation films around the world.