Monga (film)

Monga (Chinese: 艋舺; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Báng-kah) is a 2010 Taiwanese gangster film set in 1980s Taipei. The film features Ethan Juan, Mark Chao, Ma Ju-lung, Rhydian Vaughan and Ko Chia-yen. The film was directed and co-written by Doze Niu, who also appears in the film.[2][3]

Monga film poster (Mandarin).jpg
Directed byDoze Niu
Written byTseng Li-ting
Doze Niu
Produced byDennis Yu
Chan Ya-wen
Yao Cheng-chung
Chang Hsueh-shun
Alan Tong
Lee Lieh
Doze Niu
StarringEthan Juan
Mark Chao
CinematographyJake Pollock
Music bySandee Chan
Release dates
  • January 29, 2010 (2010-01-29) (Berlinale)
  • February 5, 2010 (2010-02-05) (Taiwan)
Running time
141 minutes
LanguagesTaiwanese Hokkien
Box office$4,244,158[1]


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 have the friends that make you stronger than your enemies.

Mosquito (Mark Chao), Monk (Ethan Juan), Dragon (Rhydian Vaughan), Monkey (Emerson Tsai) and A-po (Frankie Huang) are all members of the "Gang of Princes". Mosquito is invited to join the gang after standing up to – and holding his own against – a rival gang member who stole his chicken drumstick his first day at school in Monga. Mosquito soon begins to enjoy with his brother gangsters the lifestyle, and gains leadership over the "Gang of Princes," the influence of which dominates the streets of Monga. They are unaware that there are other rivals who are deeply jealous of their success, and the five's responses to antagonism that follows reflects their commitment to the code of brotherhood, but lack judgement, maturity, and the ever-important calculation required to balance power in gang leadership.

Geta (Ma Ju-lung), one of Monga's old triad leaders (as well as Dragon's father), sees it as his duty to teach these cheeky young upstarts the true laws of gangsterdom. To accomplish this, while punishing them for their previous actions, Geta orders the seclusion of the five, as they undergo intense training according to the tradition and legacy handed down by the city's founders. The strict laws of a brotherhood, in which they should fight not just for territorial reasons, but also to protect their honor, impress most deeply on Mosquito.

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, as cracks of a former betrayal come to light, widen, and result in conflicting loyalties that confuse the ties between gangsterdom and sworn brotherhood.[4]




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.[3] The movie was filmed on location and landmarks such as Bangka Qingshui Temple (艋舺清水巖), Bangka Lungshan 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 premiered at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival on 29 January 2010, in the Panorama section.

The film opened in Taiwan on 5 February 2010, and grossed NT$8.31 million (US$260,000) on its opening day and NT$59.32 million (US$1.85 million) on its opening week, ranking above worldwide hit Avatar on the box-office charts.[2][5]

China Daily placed the film on their list of the best ten Chinese films of 2010.[6]

English film poster

Awards and nominationsEdit

Won: Best Art Direction

Won: Best New Actor (Mark Chao)

Nominated: Best actor (Ethan Juan and Mark Chao)

Nominated: The Grand Prize

Nominated: Best Actor (Mark Chao)

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)

Won: Best New Actor (Mark Chao)

Nominated: Best New Actor (Mark Chao)

The film was selected as the Taiwanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards[7] but it did not make the final shortlist.[8]

See alsoEdit


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

External linksEdit