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The Real Events That Inspired ‘Your Name Engraved Herein’, Taiwan’s Highest-Grossing LGBTQ Film of All Time

21 December 2020

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The Real Events That Inspired ‘Your Name Engraved Herein’, Taiwan’s Highest-Grossing LGBTQ Film of All Time

Director Patrick Liu did not play the trumpet in his high school marching band. Unlike Chang Jia-Han, the lead character in Liu’s movie Your Name Engraved Herein, Liu played the flute. But there’s special meaning to the instrument of choice for Chang Jia-Han (Edward Chen)—nicknamed A-Han. “To quote our composer, the trumpet has a sound quality of wanting to say something, but not being able to get it out,” Liu tells TIME in Mandarin. This feeling is familiar to A-Han. Pressure builds inside him as he falls for bandmate Wang Birdy (Jing-Hua Tseng) and wonders if he will ever be able to freely express his love. The feeling is also familiar to Liu.

Of the few dozen LGBTQ films in the history of Taiwanese cinema, Liu’s has been the most successful at the box office—Your Name Engraved Herein, which premieres globally on Netflix Dec. 23, is Taiwan’s highest-grossing LGBTQ-themed movie of all time. Earlier in December, the movie surpassed NT$100M (around US$3.5M) and is one of only two domestic films to reach this marker in 2020. The movie screened locally beginning in September, more than a year after the self-governing island became the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. But the film focuses on a period long before this right existed, in 1987, when martial law had just lifted, prompting Taiwan toward a gradual transition in the direction of greater liberties including freedom of speech and press. At the time, homophobia was widespread and openly gay individuals were largely ostracized by society.

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Image Credits: Netflix