alr

I Didn't Dare Tell You
(Bugan gen ni jiang)

Free Admission
Streaming
Directed by Mou Tun-fei.
With Gua Ah-lei, Yu Chien-sheng, Chen Kuo-chun.
Taiwan, 1969, DCP, black & white, 78 min.
Mandarin with English subtitles.
DCP source: Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute

Dah Yuan, a sensitive young boy whose only friend is Hsiao Chü, takes on a secret night job to help his father pay off a mountain of gambling debt. However, the misunderstanding of the adults in his life only intensifies his struggle to balance work and education as a child. The first full-length feature of director Mou Tun-fei—then freshly out of the National Arts Institute—I Didn't Dare Tell You tenderly and provocatively frames the dream of social mobility against a background of martial law under the Kuomintang. This sensitive treatment contrasts with his later work on bold exploitation films in collaboration with the Shaw Brothers in Hong Kong. Though it screened only privately in Taiwan due to state censorship, the film nonetheless spurred discussions amongst viewers for its neorealist style and depiction of economic inequality. The existing version is incomplete due to the loss of one reel from the original print. Still, I Didn't Dare Tell You offers a rare, stunning look into 1960s Taiwan that is limned with poignance and humor. —Yufan Chen and Hannah Baek 

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