The Best Secret Agent (Chang Ying, 1964)

As a preview of the Taiwan Edinburgh Film Festival (25 – 31 Oct), in the brief podcast below, we talk of the many pleasures incurred from watching Best Secret Agent. The film is definitely not a masterpiece of cinematic art. However,  Best Secret Agent is a sexy melodrama, drawing on the Bond craze then current but putting it in the context of Taiwanese history and culture. Sometimes popular cinema can teach us at least as much as art. Charismatic stars, action, superb costuming and a director and cinematographer who can do wonders with lighting and composition make of Best Secret Agent  a wonderful-looking film that never ceases being fun to watch. Moreover, unlike Bond, the protagonist and top agent here is a woman. Highly recommended.


The podcast my also be listened to on Spotify here:

and on itunes here:

An illustration of the striking look, lighting and composition of the films is evident from these frame grabs:

The Taiwan Film Instute’s invaluable program notes, offering information on actors, plot synopsis, and production details, can be accessed here: The-Best-Secret-Agent

Hayley Scanlon has written a very interesting review of the film, which can be accessed here.

There’s a wonderful introduction to Taiyupian Cinema: an introduction to Taiwan-language cinema on youtube here:

The Best Secret Agent streams in the UK 25th to 31st October as part of this year’s Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh.

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