You have to know Taiwanese history to enjoy this movie thoroughly
Needless to comment on Hou's excellent artistic directing, the story itself tightly revolves around an average Taiwanese family's life during the years 1945-1949 when Japanese occupation ended and KuoMinTang from mainland took over. There are conflict on personal/family level between native Taiwanese (BenShengRen) and mainland newcomers(WaiShengRen), and massive political prosecution and massacre of native intellectuals by KuoMinTang. Hou painted an inspiring (rather than sad) picture of the native intellectuals giving their lives to earn their fellow Taiwanese dignity which was ironically more lacking during the KuoMinTang ruling than Japanese ruling.
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