Tue, Oct 04, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Director Wei talks about ‘Seediq Bale’

INTERVIEW:With his newest production, ‘Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale,’ director Wei Te-sheng has single-handedly raised the standard of Taiwanese film production. However, the film also stirred up many controversies. Wei said in an interview with ‘Liberty Times’ (the sister newspaper of the ‘Taipei Times’) staff reporter Lan Tsu-wei on Sept. 23 that ‘Seediq Bale’ sparks retrospection, and reconsidering the past forces viewers to think about the future

Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer

What I mean by that is the way in which the inherent way of thinking in hunter culture is the culture of “Chasing song with song” and “chasing life with life.” The chorus of the Aboriginals is the same tune chasing after the verse, and the life of the hunter is the same.

The main character[s] in the movie want to die, because they believe death will take them to the “rainbow.” They are chasing freedom of the soul in death, and are not particularly bothered about mortal existence. In adopting this approach, what could I impart to the audience other than a sense of tragedy?

Finally, I understood that there is another meaning in life, namely continuing the life of the tribe. If someone passes away, then the responsibility of preserving the bloodline of tribe and family falls to those who are left.

That was why at the end of Seediq Bale (the second part of the movie), there is a scene about the Aboriginal myth that everything must return to the fountain of life, and that we must never forget our roots.

Only by maintaining equilibrium between life and death can something be called an epic.

LT: What is it that you truly wanted to challenge with this movie?

Wei: Seediq Bale is a great story, and I uncovered a unique point of view from which to view history. The main character is caught in a dilemma in which taking action at either end of the spectrum is “wrong.” In this situation, should he do it? If so, then how? Taking this idea and looking at our own lives, most of us have at one time or another found ourselves in situations where any outcome is going to be bad irrespective of anything we might do.

In history, it is important to try to understand the motives of the people involved. If we look at a person’s action only to decide if that person was right or wrong, then we really are thinking about humanity on too small a scale.

Try to imagine being in the 1930s. If your world was made up of tribal members and foreigners and you had only traditional beliefs to fall back on when the foreigners oppressed you, what kind of choices would you make? If you place yourself in their shoes, then it becomes easier to understand why they did what they did.

With this level of understanding, it should be easier to move away from past hatreds. Especially for Taiwanese who tend to have contradictory views of history. I hope that Seediq Bale provides a certain degree of perspective, and encourages people to think about the future [in a new light].

LT: People watching this movie are likely to compare their own experiences with what they see in the film. Do you think that this could lead to some confusion?

Wei: The average movie does not need to be explained, but Seediq Bale does, because it challenges the modern values we hold dear. It requires more explanation and I encourage people to discuss their thoughts about the movies with friends.

For example, some people have complained that the film was overly bloody and objected to scenes in which women and children are killed.

Ultimately, I decided to keep those scenes because they reflected the truth and I felt it was important to face such things head on, but rather encourage the audience to consider how such brutality should be dealt with.

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