"My Bittersweet Taiwan" is yet another of an endlessly growing genre of movies - the Chinese family saga, be it from the mainland, or Taiwan.
Basic plot description follows, with mild spoilers This particular film show the life of Awen, starting with his birth, in a traditional Chinese family in Taiwan when it was under Japanese rule. Growing up as a second-class citizen, with his family subject to intermittent harassment, Awen still manages to excel in his studies and make his way in the world, at least until the outbreak of World War II, when many of the native Taiwanese were forced to fight for the Japanese overlords. The return of Taiwan to the mainland, provides new opportunities, but its separation, in the wake of the nationalist defeat, after only a few years, ensures further heartache.
As you can imagine, there a moments of tenderness and melodrama, love and heartache, treated in a manner which is much more accessible to a Western audience than the films of Hou Hsiao Hsien, for example, and with no mention at all of the Feb 14 incident, or the KMT invasion either, for that matter. But these are not great oversights, since it is the story of one life, lived mostly during the time of the Japanese occupation, and in that respect, offers an interesting view of the situation, humane, and not over-politicised. It would have been nice to hear the Taiwanese speaking Hokkien, rather than Mandarin, but this is a small point, and I suppose some concessions had to be made for the intended audience.
The acting is universally good, and there are some lovely landscapes to admire, and historical details to observe. I'd recommend this film to anyone interested in Taiwan's earlier history, or this kind of family saga, with less art-house touches that many other similar Chinese films.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?