YIDFF 2005 Information

Facing the Future and Walking Tall
—The Endeavors of Taiwan’s “FullShot”

Six documentaries tell the story of Taiwan’s recovery
from the Chi-Chi Earthquake

In Taiwan, where many high quality documentaries have emerged in recent years, the filmmakers’ collective FullShot occupies a particularly outstanding position. Previously our guests at YIDFF ’99, they are compiling a body of work that could be described as the culmination of their endeavors. On September 21, 1999, a major earthquake struck Taiwan. Out of a desire to “record for posterity multiple angles of the Taiwanese people dealing with this unparalleled occurrence,” FullShot journeyed to affected regions immediately after the earthquake to produce seven documentaries as they assisted with relief efforts. The impact of the earthquake on its victims does not fade even though society itself soon forgets, but the filmmakers’ long-term reportage opens our eyes to images of Taiwan. This program presents six of these works including Gift of Life, which won the Runner-up Prize at YIDFF 2003. Each of the filmmakers have their own viewpoints, unique methods and distinctive palettes, and together they describe an event better than any one individual or community. Welcoming FullShot to the festival, we will examine their efforts through screenings and discussions with the members themselves.

October 8 (Sat) 15:30 Venue: Muse 2

The House Masters
TAIWAN / 2004 / Mandarin, Taiwanese / Color / Video / 89 min
Director: Wu Yii-feng

The House Masters records the efforts of the survivors living in Shihmen Village in Guosing Township, Nantou County as they try to help themselves on the road to recovery without media or government aid. The film follows the stubborn attempts of senior residents to go on living in tents. The activities of the residents in a housing complex called “The House Masters” also come into focus as the earthquake exposes the use of inferior construction materials. The elderly eventually pass away in loneliness, while the housing complex residents suing the construction company are confronted with legal contradictions. A final note adding that the trial is still in progress reminds us of the severe difficulties faced on the road from disaster to recovery.


October 9 (Sun) 14:30 Venue: Muse 2

Radio Mihu
TAIWAN / 2004 / Mandarin, Tayal / Color / Video / 136 min
Director: Lee Jong-wang

In Zhiou, a village of the Mihu tribe of the indigenous Tayal peoples in Heping Township, Taichung County, the poet and primary school teacher Walis Nogang establishes temporary housing after the earthquake. Based on ideas of traditional, cooperative living, the project aims for independent self-recovery, but discord grows as differences of opinion with elders surface and the outside attention drawn only to the housing development creates a sense of unfairness among the villagers. While the darker side of humanity is brought into stark relief under the severe conditions following a devastating earthquake, the bright and cheerful voice of the pirate radio station Radio Mihu frames the film, conveying a sense of human strength and hope for the future.


October 10 (Mon) 12:30 Venue: Muse 2

A Taste of Plum
TAIWAN / 2004 / Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka / Color / Video / 142 min
Director, Editing: Kuo Hsiao-yun

The village of Nangang, near the epicenter of the earthquake in Guosing Township, Nantou County, was buried in a landslide. This film follows the survivors as they try to recover—particularly the three Ju brothers, who have lost their mother and their home. Misplaced expectations lead to confrontations with the government, the village is being turned increasingly into a tourist destination, and in order to put their lives back together, the villagers are even willing to exploit their own experiences of the earthquake. These are lives that cast a life-sized image of Taiwan.


October 11 (Tue) 14:30 Venue: Muse 2

Three Fork Village
TAIWAN / 2005 / Mandarin, Tayal / Color / Video / 144 min
Director: Chen Liang-feng

This film documents the events in Three Fork Village, a small village of the Tayal tribe who migrated fifty years ago from Mifu. After the earthquake forced the entire village to relocate, the villagers encounter a succession of ups and downs in the process of reconstructing their homes. As a typhoon causes further water damage, the camera not only follows the reconstruction efforts of the villagers, but it also questions the essence of the problems that have hindered reconstruction in the five years since the disaster.


October 12 (Wed) 14::30 Venue: Muse 2

An Encounter with Chungliao
TAIWAN / 2005 / Mandarin, Taiwanese / Color / Video / 356 min (Part 1: 139 min, Part 2: 99 min, Part 3: 118 min)
Director: Huang Shu-mei

An Encounter with Chungliao was carefully shot in the huge areas struck by the earthquake in Chungliao Township, Nantou County. Unaffected camerawork depicts an avalanche of problems afflicting the area—the historical decline of a town that once prospered on bananas during the Japanese occupation, a village forced to scatter for the installation of high-voltage electricity towers, the environmental pollution that occurred as a result of allowing for urban waste dumps, and the deforestation that arose from planting high-profit crops. This film goes beyond simply documenting the recovery process.


October 12 (Wed) 13:10 Venue: Yamagata Central Public Hall 6F

Gift of Life
TAIWAN / 2003 / Mandarin, Taiwanese / Color / Video / 148 min
Director, Producer: Wu Yii-feng

A major earthquake hit Taiwan on September 21, 1999, completely burying in landslides the village of Chiufen Erh Shan (Chiufen Two Peaks) near the epicenter. Seven people from four different families randomly look for the remains of their relatives in the aftermath of the quake. If anything, the days after the disaster weigh even more heavily on the stricken families. While carefully building trust, the director warmly observes how these families, through in the grip of loss, struggle toward recovery. And what if he himself were suddenly to be confronted with the parting of a loved one? The director attempts to empathize with and capture the earthquake experience, describing his feelings in a style all his own.
(Will be screened as an International Competition Juror’s film)

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