Detention (2019 film)
|Directed by||John Hsu|
by Red Candle Games
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Taiwan|
|Box office||NT$260 million|
Detention (Chinese: 返校) is a 2019 Taiwanese supernatural psychological horror film directed by John Hsu and based on the popular horror video game of same name developed by Red Candle Games. Set in 1962 during Taiwan's White Terror period, two students are trapped at their hillside high school at night. While trying to escape and find their missing teacher, they encounter ghosts and the dark truth of their fate.
The film was not released in mainland China (due to government order), but enjoyed strong box office success in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore (released on 5 December 2019), Malaysia (9 January 2020), Indonesia (2 December 2020), and South Korea (13 August 2020); the film was also selected in the official section of the 2020 International Film Festival Rotterdam.
In 1962, during Taiwan's White Terror, a final year middle school student named Fang Ray-shin falls in love with her teacher and counsellor, Chang Ming-Hui. Amid the growing problems she faces at both home and school, he becomes her only escape. The freedom-loving Chang is the organiser of a study group for banned books, along with fellow teacher Yin Tsui-han and second-year student Wei Chong-ting. Though the study group provides a place to breathe in a dangerous environment, its members risk death by participating. One day, Chang disappears without explanation, and only Ray-shin and Chong-ting seem to remember that he ever existed. The two agree to work together to find their missing teacher but soon find that the school is no longer the familiar world they remember. The building has become an alien land with ghosts and demons, and the two students will be forced to confront the terrible truth.
- Gingle Wang, as Fang Ray-shin
- Fu Meng-po, as Mr. Chang Ming-hui
- Tseng Ching-hua, as Wei Chung-ting
- Cecilia Choi, as Miss Yin Tsui-han
- Hung Chang Chu, as Inspector Bai
- Hsia Ching-ting, as Fang's father
- Jessie Chang, as Fang's mother
The film production rights were purchased on 21 June 2017 from Red Candle Games by 1 Production Film Co. The first film trailer was released on 19 June 2019. The film's budget was roughly NT$95 million. The story and game are inspired by true events, specifically the 1947 Keelung Senior High School incident. A portion of the film production took place in Kaohsiung. The film score featured a live orchestra of forty instrumentalists.
Awards and nominations
|2019||56th Golden Horse Awards||Best New Director||John Hsu||Won|||
|Best Adapted Screenplay||John Hsu, Fu Kai-ling, Chien Shih-keng||Won|
|Best Visual Effects||Renovatio Pictures, Tomi Kuo||Won|
|Best Art Direction||Wang Chih-cheng||Won|
|Best Original Film Song||"The Day After Rain"||Won|
|Best Feature Film||Detention||Nominated|||
|Best Leading Actress||Gingle Wang||Nominated|
|Best New Performer||Tseng Ching-hua||Nominated|
|Best Action Choreography||Jimmy Hung||Nominated|
|Best Film Editing||Shieh Meng-ju||Nominated|
|Best Sound Effects||Dennis Tsao, Book Chien||Nominated|
|Best Original Film Score||Lu Luming||Nominated|
|2020||39th Hong Kong Film Awards||Best Film from Mainland and Taiwan||Detention||Nominated|||
|2020 Fantasporto||Special Award - Orient Express Section||Detention||Won|||
|2020 Taipei Film Awards||Grand Prize||Detention||Won|||
|Best Narrative Feature||Detention||Won|
|Best Actress||Gingle Wang||Won|
|Best Art Design||Wang Chih-cheng||Won|
|Best Visual Effects||Tomi Kuo||Won|
|Best Sound Design||Dennis Tsao, Book Chien||Won|
|14th Asian Film Awards||Best Visual Effects||Tomi Kijo, Renovatio Pictures||Won|
|Best New Director||John Hsu||Nominated|
The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 85% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 33 reviews, with an average rating of 6.90/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Politically charged horror that's as viscerally effective as it is intellectually stimulating, Detention's got class." A review in the Taipei Times described the film as "likeable...chilling but not downright terrifying." Compared to the video game, Han Cheung opined that the film felt "simplified" and that it overemphasized its White Terror setting without focusing on the political background of the period. Director John Hsu stated that the film drew a younger audience than he expected. A review in Variety described the film as generally absorbing and entertaining, but noted problems with the narrative, pointing to 'a whiff of sexism in the treatment of naive, jealous schoolgirl Fang, while the underlying ickiness of the teacher-student love affair goes largely unmentioned'.
Detention made NT$67.7 million three days after its premiere in Taiwan, becoming the third-highest take of first three-day gross for domestic film, behind the two-part film Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (2011). It is the highest-grossing domestic film of 2019 in Taiwan; it also became one of the top five highest-grossing local films in Taiwan in the last decade.
Following a boycott of the 56th Golden Horse Awards by Chinese filmmakers, Detention received twelve award nominations, the most of any film that year. However, due to the sensitive plot of the story, the film is banned in China, and mention of the film is scrubbed from all mainland Chinese websites. The film is referred to as "xx" in Chinese media's Golden Horse nomination reports. In Hong Kong, the release date was pushed back to December in order to avoiding association with the ongoing Hong Kong protests. The film received limited theatrical release on 5 December 2019 in Hong Kong; the film grossed more than HK$11 million at Hong Kong box office, which was a very successful result for a limited theatrical release film.
- "2019 Taiwan Box Office Statistics 12/23-12/29" (PDF). Taiwan Film Institute.
- Frater, Patrick (13 July 2020). "'Detention' Wins Top Awards at Taipei Film Festival". Variety.
- Wong, Silvia (20 February 2020). "EFM 2020: the buzz titles from Taiwan". Screen Daily. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
- "【最佳助攻？】《返校》《十年》越鬧越旺 胡慧中文革舊戲曾被禁" [The best attack? 'Detention' and 'Ten Years': the greater the disturbance, the better they do] (in Cantonese). Apple Daily. 3 July 2020. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
- "Detention". International Film Festival Rotterdam. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
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- Beach, Sophie (29 September 2019). "Minitrue: Find and Delete Information about Taiwanese Movie "Detention"". China Digital Times. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- RYAN (2 January 2020). "徐漢強《返校》累積突破千萬大關". 講。鏟。片. Archived from the original on 4 January 2020. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
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