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Chen Uen to Feature at Summer Screenings Program on September 7

  • Date:2022-09-02

Chen Uen (千年一問), a documentary that focuses on graphic novelist Chen Uen (鄭問), will come to the Chicago Cultural Center on September 7 at 6:30 pm. This visually stunning film not only depicts Chen’s fascinating story, but also brings his extraordinary, colorful, and unrestrained artwork to life through animation. The screening is open to the public, and free tickets are available online.

The screening is presented by Cinema/Chicago, together with Taipei Cultural Center in New York, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago, and the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. It is being presented as part of the Summer Screenings Program, a free film series that casts a spotlight on a different country’s national cinema every week.

According to Cinema/Chicago, this year’s theme is adaptation. Since the invention of cinema, movies have drawn inspiration from art forms of all kinds. Whether its faithful renderings of popular novels or radical re-imaginings of historical events, film can create vast, visual worlds while telling the stories that matter to us most.

Chen Uen (鄭問) was the pen name of Cheng Chin-wen (鄭進文), who died of a heart attack in 2017. Chen was an enigmatic talent known for drawing from traditional Chinese wuxia narratives to create his distinctive graphic designs. This film depicts Chen’s life story by representing his works and interviewing over 50 of the most prestigious art talents, including Tetsuya Chiba (千葉徹彌), Ryoichi Ikegami (池上遼一), Wing Shing Ma (馬榮成), Yilang Huang (黃玉郎), and Andrew Lau (劉偉強).

Director Wan-Jo Wang (王婉柔) fully captured the essence of the era during each stage of Chen’s life through music, framing, and recreated scenes. Even the backdrops to the talking heads were carefully designed to echo Chen’s artwork at times, making the entire film a visual feast to enjoy.

“I want to feature Chen as a human being, rather than an artist or a comic author,” Director Wang said, while adding that the film reveals some of the secrets of Chen’s creative process. Multiple interviewees mention that they would have been “silenced” for sharing these details if Chen were alive. According to Wang, “Chen is the kind of person who lived his life to the fullest to pursue excellence. It seemed like he lived during the wrong time. It was a pity to know that he missed opportunities to achieve greater success, but he wouldn’t be such an inspiration to a generation of Taiwanese artists if the situation was not the case.”

The screening will take place at the Chicago Cultural Center on September 7 at 6:30 pm. Doors for the screening will open to the public at 5:45 pm. Professor Wenhwa Ts’ao (曹文華) of Columbia College Chicago and Director John Lin (林逸) of TECO in Chicago’s Education Division will be participating in an in-person post-screening discussion. For more information, please visit: