An indigenous clan-based people living in harmony with nature find their way of life threatened when violent interlopers from another culture arrive, intent on seizing their natural resources and enslaving them.
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During the Japanese rule of Taiwan, the Seediq were forced to lose their own culture and give up their faith. Men were subject to harsh labor and kept from traditional hunting; whereas women had to serve the Japanese policemen and their families by doing the household work and giving up their traditional weaving work. Above all, they were forbidden to tattoo their faces. And these tattoos were seen as the Seediq's traditional belief to transform themselves into Seediq Bale ("true humans"). Mona Rudao, the protagonist, witnessed the repression by the Japanese over a period of 30 years. Sometime between autumn and winter 1930, when the slave labor is at its harshest, a young Seediq couple are married and a joyful party is thrown. At the same time, a newly appointed Japanese policeman goes on his inspection tour to this tribe. Mona Rudao's first son, Tado Mona, offers wine to the policeman with gusto, but is in return beaten up because his hands were considered not clean enough. With ... Written by
I walked out of the cinema with both surprise and worry. I'm worried because maybe this is not a very good film, especially not a good "commercial film" to make both ends meet, but I'm really glad to see that Te-Sheng Wei can still insist on his idea even in such a big production.
Before going to the theater, my first concern was whether it would become a stereotypical nationalism or humanism film, because The Wushe Incident had been represented so many times in our history class in Taiwan that it seemed to be too difficult to make this film without compromising on political correctness, but Te-Sheng Wei made it！
Sàidékè balái presented a mass of killing and death, not in a humanism or Han Chinese Nationalism way, but from the aspect of the Seediq. I have heard people arguing if it is necessary to have so much violence in this film, but I have to say that the value of peace or anti-war is the main stream nowadays but not so to the traditional Seediq that time. Therefore, I think the director is not a moral relativist, he just chose not to judge the past with today's value, and resisted the mainstream that drowned the voice of the minority.
It impressed me that there was little Chinese or Taiwanese through out this film. Instead, the film is composed of Seediq language and Japanese. We should cherish it that 80 years after the The Wushe Incident, we can finally see a film which represents historical event not based on the authority opinion but on people who didn't lead the history, i.e. the native.
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