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
Taiwan's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 84th Academy Awards 2012. See more »
Ichiro Hanaoka aka Dakis Nomin:
[Asking Jiro/Dakis Nawi before performing seppuku]
Jiro, are we subjects of Japan's Mikado... , or the descendants of the Seediq ancestors?
Jiro Hanaoka aka Dakis Nawi:
Do it. Cut it up and end your conflicts right here and now. We don't have to go anywhere once we're dead. Let's both be free wandering spirits.
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First of all it is better to watch the film in full 4.5 hr instead of watching as 2 parts, which is what I did in film fest.
Secondly, you have to know a little of history and tradition of Taiwan and roles of aboriginals to truly have a feeling for the movie. Just Wiki "Wushe Incident", and "Taiwanese Aboriginal" and that makes things much better as you watch.
Anyway back to the film, the selling point seems to be all the killing, the action, the big budget. However after watching it I've found out it's more about the value of "death" that the film tries to bring to us, and death weights in front of abstract values such as "tradition", "dignity", etc.
It's really an entertaining film for sure and throughout the 4.5 hrs time just flies, and you have to adjust yourself to have that desire to discover more about aboriginals believes and ways of living, much like watching documentary films mentality.
I can't stop comparing this "Civilization vs. Barbarian" plot to what is happening in middle east right now. In such sense history is repeating, and the film is definitely pointing out how pointless the loss of lives is (depends on which stand you are taking though).
Overall this is one of the best and most enjoyable films in recent years. The director is trying to lead us to think critically towards topics on death, values, tradition and how these would change when worlds collide.
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