Politicians call a truce for Taiwan Braveheart

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2011, 12:00am


A new Taiwanese film, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, is causing a huge buzz on the island even before it has gone on general release.

The 4 1/2-hour epic - to be shown in two parts - is already being hailed a Taiwanese masterpiece.

Part one, on general release on the island on Friday, portrays the Taiwanese identity through the struggles of the Seediq warriors against Japanese colonial oppression.

The movie, which is being compared to Braveheart, is also being seen as a timely campaign tool for the ruling and opposition parties, which have been trying to show how much they treasure Taiwan during their campaigning ahead of the legislative and presidential elections in January.

Directed by Wei Te-sheng, whose Cape No. 7 in 2008 was a huge success in Taiwan, the film had the unique honour of being premiered in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei on Sunday - three days after its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou and his presidential challenger, Tsai Ing-wen of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party, temporarily stopped their verbal sparring and sat peacefully to watch the film.

It tells the true story of an uprising by a massively outnumbered band of warriors against the Japanese colonial rulers in 1930.

The film, nominated for the Golden Lion award in Venice, has attracted wide attention at home and abroad, not only because of its large budget - NT$700 million (HK$190 million) - which is rare in Taiwan, but also because of its epic elements and political message.

Though the film won applause in Venice, it has been given a cool reception by mainland movie critics, with some snubbing it as a 'movie full of bloodshed,' and as 'sheer provincialism' - a general term referring to Taiwanese identity and disliked by Beijing authorities.