Wulu is a Bunun indigenous village in a mountainous part of Taitung. Traditional Bunun songs are all uniquely polyphonic, and “Pasibutbut (aka Tribute to Having a Good Harvest),” one such octophonic chorus, was recorded and sent to UNESCO in 1952 by Japanese musicologist Takatomo Kurosawa. It startl...(Read more)
Wulu is a Bunun indigenous village in a mountainous part of Taitung. Traditional Bunun songs are all uniquely polyphonic, and “Pasibutbut (aka Tribute to Having a Good Harvest),” one such octophonic chorus, was recorded and sent to UNESCO in 1952 by Japanese musicologist Takatomo Kurosawa. It startled and overturned Western theory about the origin and development of music. In 2003, American cellist David Darling came to Wulu out of fascination with Bunun chorus, asking for a musical accompaniment. This documentary also records the Bunun’s mother tongue education, how the choirs are run, the diminishing of hunting rites, and the traditional tribal ritual of “malahodaigian” (literally “shooting deer ears”). In interviews, when asked about the erosion of traditional cultures by modern society, some were deeply worried, while others held a more optimistic attitude.
Director Wang Chung-Shung’s works bear some hallmarks of experimental film. In this, his first documentary, the framing and cutting are both realistic and poetic, while the soundtrack is made up of not only the Bunun’s Indigenous People’s breathtaking songs but also the natural sounds of the surroundings of Wulu village, such as dogs barking and the river murmuring. At first, the villagers are worried that a Western instrument, David Darling’s cello, might spoil their acapella singing. This typifies indigenous peoples’ worries about the invasion of Western ideas and modernity, and of the erosion and colonization of cultures and communities. It seems Wang deliberately exposes the process of filmmaking within the frames; for instance, the boom microphone and sound mixer being in frame raises a crucial question: does the recording (microphones) affect the recorded (the singers/songs)? This question evokes a classical and critical agenda concerning documentary filmmaking and its history and ethics: how do photography and documentary filmmaking, introduced by colonizers, form or transform indigenous worlds and the ways of seeing worlds? Thus, this documentary is at the same time a “meta-documentary.” Wang sets a “road-movie” framework for this film and interviews his own crew in the postscript, discussing the issues involved in making documentaries that seek to depict reality.
|DVD source：||R.O.C. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.|
|Taiwan Academies, Ministry of Culture, R.O.C. please contact Embassies, Representative Offices of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, R.O.C.|
|Theme：||Cultural Conflict、Youth、Indigenous Peoples|
|Language：||Mandarin, English, Bunun|
|Subtitle：||Chinese, English, French, Spanish|
|Producer：||Sean FU, KE Ting-Zhu|
|Editor：||CHEN Po-Wen, YUEH Hsing|
2003 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, "New Asian Currents" Competition
2004 Taiwan International Documentary Festival, nominated for Taiwan Award