Artistically, its greatness is not in dispute, but it is hard to overstate the importance of this film in political and social terms for Taiwan. The subject of the film, the February 28 Incident (the massacre of 20000 or more Taiwanese by Chinese Nationalist troops in 1947) had been completely been banned from public discussion by the now-defunct military government of Taiwan up until 1988 - only a year and a half before the film was released. To intervene so powerfully in a period of political and social change as Taiwan's democratic revolution in the late 1980s, makes the film as dramatic a re-configuring of a country's cultural landscape as any film has ever achieved.
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