Hsiu-Chin, a young girl growing up at Anping Port, Tainan, falls in love with a Dutch ship’s doctor, Daley, and gets pregnant. Later, Daley is to be forced to leave Taiwan. He promises her that he will return soon, but she hears nothing from him. Hsiu-Chin gives birth to Kim, a baby girl with ...(Read more)
Hsiu-Chin, a young girl growing up at Anping Port, Tainan, falls in love with a Dutch ship’s doctor, Daley, and gets pregnant. Later, Daley is to be forced to leave Taiwan. He promises her that he will return soon, but she hears nothing from him. Hsiu-Chin gives birth to Kim, a baby girl with red hair, a mixed-race child of a sort unfamiliar to the local community. Years later, after spending her life waiting, Hsiu-Chin ultimately dies of an illness. Kim is raised by her grandpa and becomes a beauty. One day at the port she meets Chih-Chiang, a medical student from Taipei. They fall in love, but he is about to go abroad to study medicine. Like her mother, Kim cannot help but wait with uncertainty for her lover’s return. Coincidentally, Chih-Chang’s doctoral advisor in America is Daley. In the end, who will come back to Anping?
Back to Anping Harbor marks the end of the golden years of “Taiwanese Cinema” (1955-72), of which this film contains almost all major elements: love at first sight; forbidden love; class differences and family objections; forced separation and long waits; tokens of love; promises kept and broken; dramatic and twisting plots; accidents (car crashes) and coincidences (chance meetings); spanning generations; and identity myths and status gaps. Though “Taiwanese Cinema” may have died, these elements live on and are present in the Qiong Yao films of the 1970s, retold in Mandarin. This film was inspired by and adapted from the song “Romance of Anping” (or “Anping Memories”), popular in late-19th-century Taiwan, and is said to be based on a true historical event. In fact, this film implicitly and indirectly tells the whole modern history of Taiwan: Dutch and Japanese colonization (the man who informs Dali the Dutch to leave is a Japanese.); Jan’s father calls KMT’s takeover “restoration” (literally “the return of the light”); the emergence of the middle class and capitalism; the arrival of the era of aircraft. Furthermore, images of “cross-culture/country romance” and “drifting” of Anping Port could be seen as metaphors for Taiwan: open as the sea, rebellious, full of migrating peoples, and cultural hybridity. Yang Li-Hua, later a diva of Taiwanese Opera and renowned for playing male characters on stage, plays female roles in this film. With a blonde wig put on and taken off (much earlier than Bridget Lin in Chungking Express), Yang plays the roles of both mother and daughter. With hindsight, Yang’s performance in this film is quite campy. She also sings the sad theme song which recurs at touching moments of the film, which makes film a melodrama or a half-musical.
DVD source：Taiwan Cinema Toolkit, Ministry of Culture, R.O.C.
|Color：||B & W|
|Producer：||HSU Bing-Ding, HSU Sheng-Fu|
|Actors：||YANG Li-Hua, Xiao-Jing, LAN Qi|
Theroyalty period of this film has expired. Taiwan Cinema Toolkit could no longer authorizescreenings.
Howard Yang, Taiwan Film Institute