Watan, a member of the aboriginal Atayal tribe, left his village to find work in the city, and returned as a depressive alcoholic with a broken leg. A postcard leads him back to the city to seek his ex-lover, Kobesatom. When they were young, they dreamed of settling on a millet field. Mo, a gloom...(Read more)
Watan, a member of the aboriginal Atayal tribe, left his village to find work in the city, and returned as a depressive alcoholic with a broken leg. A postcard leads him back to the city to seek his ex-lover, Kobesatom. When they were young, they dreamed of settling on a millet field.
Mo, a gloomy and decadent young man, apprentices in a Japanese restaurant, and after work he always stays overnight in a room at a telephone dating center, or having sex in love hotels with women he meets online. His mainlander father, a war veteran, is seriously sick in a nursing home, and Mo is about to leave for Tokyo to find his runaway mother. Xuen Xuen, a lonely young girl, works at a ticket window for a merry-go-round in a desolate amusement park. Not long before, her older brother drowned himself out of heartbreak. Their irresponsible and missing mother is actually Kobesatom. One night, Xuen Xuen calls a telephone dating center to tell her story, the man who answers her line is Mo.
In 1980s, around the lifting of martial law, activist-director Cheng Wen-Tang launched “Green Team” and made documentaries about the democratic demonstrations and social movements on streets, full of humanist spirit and political critique. This film was his first feature, realistic and rigidly-structured, and a surprising debut. Composed of three stories that are intertwined with one another, this film has a core: members of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples are forced to leave their villages for the cities, where they labor and toil in isolation and alienation; exploited and exhausted, they return to their villages traumatized, dreaming of their homeland and the “good old days”—but ultimately, all fail. In the film, two generations of Aborigines suffer in a modern capitalistic city (Taipei), which has long been dominated by Han people. Watan was hired to work on urban construction sites during the rapid urbanization that marked Taiwan’s economic takeoff, but his only reward is a serious industrial injury that ruins his life. Watan’s old friend, also from the village, lives in an unapproved structure, shabby and dilapidated, on a river bank near the outskirts of Taipei city. Kobesatom, Watan’s lover, leaves the village and deserts her own mixed-race children of Han and Aboriginal descent, presumably under the force of patriarchal urbanization. Her son dies because of love, hurt by an urban girl who knows little about or denies love; her daughter lives surrounded by walls (of her rented room) or in front of a vainly spinning merry-go-round (of the virtually ruined playground), without any way out or forward. Another social group in the film also suffers from being part of a downcast diaspora: Mo’s Chinese father and Taiwanese mother; the former dying, the latter disappeared. Ironically, Mo is a fan of J-Pop. Behind such a family lies the complicated modern history involving Taiwan, Japan and mainland China. The film ends with Mo having a date with Xuen Xuen to take the train to a legendary and dreamlike millet field, a symbol of nostalgia, utopianism and salvation. With director Wan Jen in Connection by Fate (1999), Cheng Wen-Tang shares his political idealism and addresses the values of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples and their views of the land in the wake of Taiwan’s first successful transition of power between political parties.
DVD source：Taiwan Cinema Toolkit, Ministry of Culture, R.O.C.
|Theme：||Cultural Conflict、Indigenous Peoples、The City、Society|
|Actors：||Yulao YUKAN, MO Tzu-Yi, WU Yi-Ting, Leon DAI, LEE Lieh|
|Screenplay：||CHENG Wen-Tang, CHENG Jin-Fen|
|Editor：||LIAO Ching-Song, HSIAO Ju-Kuan|
Theroyalty period of this film has expired. Taiwan Cinema Toolkit could no longer authorizescreenings.
CHEN Yihui, Dreamosa Film Ltd.
2002 Venice Film Festival, International Critics' Week Award
2002 Golden Horse Awards, Outstanding Taiwanese Film of the Year, Best Original Film Score Awards
2002 Hawaii International Film Festival, nominated for Best Narrative Feature
2002 Nantes Three Continents Festival
2003 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival