In the same vein, I also arranged for [the character of] Mona Rudao to sit next to the Japanese flag after the incident, watching what was going on, just breathing heavily and not saying anything. That scene was intended to convey that even the instigator of the massacre felt the paradox of his actions.
LT: There was some criticism that the film is rated ‘parental guidance’ (PG) instead of ‘restricted,’ despite the numerous killings. What are your thoughts on the issue?
Wei: I personally fought for the film to be rated PG, not because of the box office, but because I think junior high and high school students should come and watch the film. These youngsters will soon join the adult world and I think that it is important they know about the Wushe Incident, despite the fact that it is a tragedy. I also think they should watch the film with a teacher because then he or she can offer guidance if they have questions that need answering.
LT: By all accounts everyone involved in making Seediq Bale endured great hardships to see the project completed. What are your thoughts on the project now that it is over?
Wei: A lot of people have asked me why I didn’t wait until I had the money to make the film, to which I say the money might never have come, but the cast and equipment were there, so the question was whether to shoot or not. I felt that in order for this project to happen I had to first demonstrate my determination to the investors, so that they could then see what was possible with hard work and charisma. In fact, the only way I was able to finish Seediq Bale was by backing myself into a corner.
What I would say is that the Taiwan film industry, from casting to marketing, is now on the verge of a new spring. It now has solid roots from which to grow, so what are investors waiting for?
LT: After such an impassioned plea to investors, do you have any advice for young filmmakers in Taiwan?
Wei: They should not blindly pursue box office and stick to developing the stories they want to tell.
Traditionally, people have tried to give the audience what they want, but today I would say it is more important to ask yourself: “What do I want to do?”
Be serious in your approach and those who like such things will come. They are your basic fans and if you do your work honestly and not go chasing fads, they will continue to support you.
First and foremost, always ask yourself what you want to do.