In 1973, Taiwanese writer Huang Chun-ming signed up with a state-owned television channel to direct episodes of Fragrant Formosa , a documentary series on the island’s cultural diversity. Travelling through the countryside on his motorcycle, Huang examined the rituals practised by people in far-flung communities. Among them was a religious pageant held near Taichung in which believers would carry a statue of a sea goddess from one coastal village to another over eight days. With cameraman Chang Chao-tang, Huang shot the event on 16mm film and delivered a 25-minute piece titled The Homecoming Pilgrimage of Dajia Mazu . The short drew a rapturous response from the public when it premiered on TV in 1975, with critics praising both its poetic quality and its significance as a snapshot of traditional Taiwanese culture at a time when the island was undergoing rapid social and economic changes. Amidthe acclaim, however, there was one issue that loomed large. Huang’s narration was in Taiwanese, the language spoken by the people he had filmed. But this ran foul of the then state-stipulated policy that allowed only Mandarin to be aired on TV, a regulation designed to marginalise the native vernaculars and the cultural identities they represent. Huang’s voice-over was duly removed and replaced by one in Mandarin. More than four decades later, as part of its Digital Restoration Project, the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute decided to revive the short as envisioned by Huang and the original soundtrack was restored. Now available for free streaming (until June 16) on the institute’s YouTube channel, The Homecoming Pilgrimage is a showcase of the organisation’s capability in delivering state-of-the-art restorations of the treasured relics in its vaults. More importantly, it also highlights the institute’s work in celebrating the many languages and cultures that fell foul of the authoritarian Mandarin-only policies in force in Taiwan from 1945 to 1987. The Homecoming Pilgrimage is not the only Taiwanese-language filmto have been restored to its former glory. Last year, three such films – Early Train From Taipei (1964), Tarzan and the Treasure (1965) and Foolish Bride, Naive Bridegroom (1967) – returned to the screens as new versions;in 2018, The Homecoming Pilgrimage was joined by The Bride Who Has Returned from Hell and Encounter at the Station , both from 1965. Another of the institute’s ongoing projects is “Somewhere 4 Some Time”, a collaboration with Taiwan’s Public Television Service and the Golden Horse Film Academy. Four young filmmakers were commissioned to draw inspiration from the restored Taiwanese-language classics and produce shorts, with the new films touring cinemas in Taiwan. Foolish Bride, Naive Bridegroom , for example, spawned Siew Hong Leong’s Like Father, Like Daughter ; Chen Ting-ning remade 1969’s The Rice Dumpling Vendors into Binding ; Lin Shih-ching’s Grandma’s Small Talk emerged out of The Husband’s Secret (1965); and Lin Ya-yu’s Onstage Appearance included re-enactments of the 1961 cult hit The Fantasy of the Deer Warrior . These four shorts, alongside restored classics from renowned filmmakers Xin Qi and Lin Tuan-chiu, were also shown in London, in February, as part of the second edition of “Taiwan’s Lost Commercial Cinema”, a programme dedicated to Taiwanese-language movies and jointly organised by the institute, Taiwan’s culture ministry and King’s College London. Having moved on to Helsinki, Finland, in March, the programme’s 12-city European tour was cut short by the coronavirus outbreak. But the institute’s efforts in preserving and promoting Taiwanese-language cinema could be seen as a paragon for archives working to preserve local, indigenous cinema under the threat of extinction.