Monga (film)

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Monga film poster (Mandarin).jpg
Directed by Doze Niu
Produced by Dennis Yu
Chan Ya-wen
Yao Cheng-chung
Chang Hsueh-shun
Alan Tong
Lee Lieh
Doze Niu
Written by Tseng Li-ting
Doze Niu
Starring Ethan Juan
Mark Chao
Music by Sandee Chan
Cinematography Jake Pollock
Release date
  • January 29, 2010 (2010-01-29) (Berlinale)
  • February 5, 2010 (2010-02-05) (Taiwan)
Running time
141 minutes
Country Taiwan
Language Taiwanese

Monga (Chinese: 艋舺; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Báng-kah) is a 2010 Taiwanese gangster film set in 1980s Taipei. The film stars Ethan Juan from TV series Fated to Love You and Mark Chao, also features Ma Ju-Lung from Cape No.7 and Rhydian Vaughan from Winds of September. The film was directed and co-written by Doze Niu, who also appears in the film.[1][2]


Monga (now known as Wanhua District) is one of Taipei's districts. Mosquito (Mark Chao) and his friends have no illusions about the unwritten laws that prevail in this part of town: if you want to survive here, you’ve got to be stronger than your enemies.

Mosquito (Mark Chao), Monk (Ethan Juan), Dragon (Rhydian Vaughan), Monkey (Cai Changxian) and A-po (Huang Denghui) are all members of the "Gang of Princes". Mosquito is invited to join the gang after his chicken drumstick was stolen by a rival gang member on his first day at school in Monga. Mosquito and his friends soon begin to enjoy their gangster lifestyle and are planning to take over as top gangsters on the streets of Monga. But little do they know that there are others who are deeply jealous of their success.

Geta (Ma Ju-Lung), one of Monga’s old triad leaders, sees it as his duty to teach these cheeky young upstarts the true laws of gangsterdom. And so Geta tells the youngsters about the legacy handed down by the city’s founders and the strict laws of a brotherhood which should always fight not just for territorial reasons but also to protect their honour.

But even Geta has no inkling of the storm that is about to hit Monga – a storm that will destroy the town’s traditional values and the vestiges of its glory. A new gang, bristling with an arsenal of handguns, is about to change forever the little world in which Geta and the "Gang of Princes" have made themselves at home.[3]




Monga is set in mid-1980s in Wanhua (萬華) (in Basay language, Bangka; in Taiwanese Hokkien, Báng-kah, 艋舺) of Lungshan District, Taipei City (臺北市龍山區) for which it is named.[2] The movie was filmed on location and landmarks such as Bangka's Qingshui Temple (艋舺清水巖), Bangka's Longshan Temple (艋舺龍山寺), Snake Alley (華西街夜市), Bopiliao (剝皮寮) and Ximending (西門町) appear in the film.


The majority of the film's original score was composed by Sandee Chan, a Taiwanese singer-songwriter. The theme song of the film is "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" by Nicky Lee (李玖哲). It was originally performed by Air Supply.


Monga selected and premiered at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival on January 29, 2010, in the Panorama section Taiwan violence.

The film opened in Taiwan on 5 February 2010 and grossed NT$8.31 million (US$260,000) in the first day and NT$59.32 million (US$1.85 million) in its first weekend of release, higher than the worldwide hit Avatar that week.[1][4]

China Daily placed the film on their list of the best ten Chinese films of 2010.[5]

English film poster

Awards and nominations[edit]

Won: Best Art Direction

Nominated: Best actor (Ethan Juan and Mark Chao)

Nominated: The Grand Prize

Won: Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema Award

Nominated: Best Asian-Middle Eastern Film Award

Won: Telia Film Award

Won: Best Leading Actor (Ethan Juan)

Won: The Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year (Lee Lieh)

Won: Best Sound Effects

Nominated: Best Original Film Score (Sandee Chan)

Nominated: Best Art Direction

Nominated: The Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year (Doze Niu)

The film was selected as the Taiwanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards[6] but it did not make the final shortlist.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Derek Elley. Monga review at the Variety website. 13 February 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  2. ^ a b James Topley. Monga 艋舺 review at the China Post website. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  3. ^ Film File: Monga at Berlin International Film Festival website.
  4. ^ "'Monga' beats 'Avatar' on first-day gross." Central News Agency article at Focus Taiwan News Channel website. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  5. ^ Zhou, Raymond (December 30, 2010). "Top 10 movies of 2010 in China". China Daily. Retrieved December 30, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Taiwan film "Monga" to compete for Oscar". Channelnewsasia. Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  7. ^ "9 Foreign Language Films Continue to Oscar Race". Retrieved 2011-01-19. 

External links[edit]