This documentary focuses on four elderly farmers who have toiled for decades on their rice fields in Tainan, southern Taiwan. All are over sixty, but still they produce Taiwan’s staple food. The two directors embedded themselves there to view closely the lives and labors of the farmers. When the fil...(Read more)
This documentary focuses on four elderly farmers who have toiled for decades on their rice fields in Tainan, southern Taiwan. All are over sixty, but still they produce Taiwan’s staple food. The two directors embedded themselves there to view closely the lives and labors of the farmers. When the film was released in 2004, Let It Be became a surprise box-office hit in a time when Taiwanese cinema had long since lost its audience, even awakening social and political concern for agricultural issues.
At the macro level, this film records the whole process of farming from sowing to harvest. At the micro level, the camera closely observes, like an anthropologist, every detail of rural labor, including the professional craft and skilled knowledge required of farmers. By doing so, this documentary preserves these precious skills, which are in decline or even vanishing, for citizens and future generations.
The directors structure the film along the “24 Solar Terms,” a Taiwanese farmer’s almanac that reflects the patterns of climate and agriculture, helps schedule the progress of farming and fisheries, and marks specific folk festivals. It implies “organic” and “circular” time, standing in opposition to the “machine” or “clock” time of modern cities and industries. Such a narrative implies the directors’ and the interviewees’ protests against industrialization, linear progressivism and the WTO. The directors also insert several black-and-white official newsreels shot by the Department of Agriculture, ironically showing how Taiwan’s industrialization and “economic miracle” have been accomplished by exploiting and impoverishing villages and rural areas.
|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.|
|Director：||JUANG Yi-Tzeng YEN Lan-Chuan|
|Subtitle：||Chinese, English, French, Spanish|
|YEN Lan-Chuan, JUANG Yi-Tzeng, CHANG Kuang-Tsung|
2004 Taiwan International Documentary Festival, Grand Prize of Taiwan Award