The Taichung City Government is holding an exhibition to commemorate movie director Pai Ko (白克), who directed numerous Hoklo-language (commonly known as Taiwanese) films and is considered one of the pioneers of Taiwanese cinema.
“The Life of Director Pai Ko” (白克導演的一生), running from Wednesday last week to July 29, aims to encourage people working in the local television and film industry to “stand on the shoulders of giants” like Pai and put more effort into their creations, Taichung Information Bureau officials said.
Born in Xiamen, China, in 1914, Pai came to Taiwan in 1945 with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and helped Taiwanese and Japanese filmmakers with the Special Collection on the Surrender of Taiwan Province (台灣省受降特輯).
Pai became the first head of the then-Taiwan Provincial Movie Studio and engaged in the narration of Taiwan’s post-World War II years through film, including the documentation of the 228 Massacre in the collection General Pai Chung-hsi Oversees the Rebuilding of New Taiwan (白崇禧部長蒞台重建新台灣).
Pai Ko also directed The Descendants of the Yellow Emperor (黃帝子孫) and several Hoklo films such as Mad Woman (瘋女十八年) and Love at Lungshan Temple (龍山寺之戀).
“Pai Ko was a talented and popular director. However, because he could not hide his abilities, he met with persecution during the White Terror era and was arrested in his home in 1962 on charges of ‘corresponding with enemies abroad.’ He was executed in 1964, bringing an end to the life of this legendary 50-year-old,” Taichung Information Bureau Director-General Cho Kuan-ting (卓冠廷) said.
The White Terror era refers to the period of political persecution that began with the 228 Massacre in 1947, when the KMT violently suppressed an uprising, which was followed by the declaration of martial law in 1949. It was not lifted until 1987, resulting in thousands of deaths, and the suppression of dissidence and civil liberties.
“Pai Ko made a great and sincere sacrifice, and because he gave his life, the history of the White Terror era has become teaching material for all of us to learn. The mistakes of history cannot be repeated,” Cho added. “The government is pushing for transitional justice and I hope that through this exhibit the world can learn the true history of the White Terror era.”
Director Hung Wei-chien (洪維健), who is sponsoring the exhibition, said the films directed by Pai Ko largely discuss ethics, love and the dramas of society.
“Pai Ko reported honestly on the lives of common people, especially given how he moved deeply into the remote areas of the center and south of the nation with his camera. What he left behind is an invaluable record,” Hung said.
The exhibition, featuring restored films, news clips, posters and photographs, runs from Monday to Friday at the Taichung City Government building on Taiwan Avenue (台灣大道), on the first floor of the Hui Chung Building.
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