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5 Must-watch Films and Series inspired by Keelung

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Cinematic journey through Keelung

You might be interested to find that Keelung has served as a backdrop for various films and series, offering viewers a glimpse into its unique charm and character. From acclaimed dramas to futuristic thrillers, there are notable works that draw inspiration from or prominently feature the city and its surroundings.

Let’s take a cinematic journey through Keelung with the following must-watch films and series.

© John Hsu’s Detention. Photo by Yi-Hsien Chou

Detention (2019)

If you enjoy haunting psychological thrillers set in a historical background, this might be a film for you. “Detention” sets during Taiwan’s White Terror period in the 1960s. While much of the story takes place in a fictional school, Keelung serves as the backdrop for several haunting sequences. The film masterfully captures the city’s eerie atmosphere, blending historical elements with supernatural elements to create a gripping cinematic experience. Interesting detail: the film is adopted from a popular game made by a Taiwanese game developer by the same name.


© Port of Lies. Photo by Netflix

Port of Lies (2018)

The television drama “Port of Lies” revolves around the lives of people living in the Keelung’s bustling port area. It explores various themes such as crime, corruption, family dynamics, and the challenges faced by individuals trying to navigate through life in a complex urban environment. Keelung serves as a central aspect of the storyline. Additionally, it showcases Keelung’s unique atmosphere, capturing its urban landscapes, waterfront areas, and vibrant street scenes. It offers viewers a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage, as well as the socioeconomic issues faced by its residents. The series provides an experience that highlights the complexities of life in a port city and the interconnected lives of its inhabitants.


© Nowhere Man. Photo by Netflix

Nowhere Man (2019)

Set in a dystopian future where memories can be erased, “Nowhere Man” is a Taiwanese series that garnered praise for its thought-provoking narrative and immersive world-building. While much of the story takes place in a fictional city, Keelung’s iconic landmarks and waterfront areas are unmistakable in certain scenes. The series utilizes the city’s urban landscape to enhance its futuristic setting, offering viewers a glimpse into a world shaped by technology and surveillance.


© Millennial Mambo. Photo by Solaris Distribution

Millennium Mambo (2001)

Millennium Mambo” primarily focuses on the life of the protagonist, Vicky, portrayed by Shu Qi, and her experiences in Taipei. However, the film does include some scenes set in Keelung and references to Vicky’s hometown. The film primarily showcases urban environments in Taipei, capturing the city’s nightlife, streets, and interiors. However, Keelung holds emotional significance for Vicky, and director Hou Hsiao Hsien uses references to her hometown to deepen her character and explore themes of memory, nostalgia, and longing. Hou Hsiao Hsien is considered one of the most important directors of Taiwanese cinema who often chooses Keelung as the ideal place to place his lens.


© Dear Tenant. Photo by Gagaoolala

Dear Tenant (2020)

Dear Tenant” is a Taiwanese drama that revolves around a man named Lin Tien-ying, who cares for his deceased partner’s son, Ah-de, and his elderly mother, Mrs. Chou. Lin Tien-ying struggles to make ends meet while facing prejudice and legal challenges as a gay man raising a child. The film explores themes of love, family, sacrifice, and LGBTQI+ prejudice as Lin Tien-ying navigates the complexities of his relationships and legal battles.

Although the film’s story doesn’t specifically take place in Keelung, the connection lies in the fact that Keelung is the birthplace of the film’s director, Cheng Yu-chieh. Cheng Yu-chieh is a Taiwanese filmmaker known for his works that often depict realistic portrayals of Taiwanese society and human relationships.


So sit back and enjoy our must-watch list of films and series that offer a glimpse of the city’s scenic landscape and culture, but also its diverse character and ambiance.

Follow Helia:
Helia is a professional online communications advisor within the cultural and non-profit sector. Currently she is traveling around Taiwan to enjoy its fascinating and diverse culture, nature and kind people. During her free time she enjoys (arthouse) films and series, arts and crafts as well as connecting to (new) people.
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