Wed, Dec 11, 2019 - Page 2 News List

‘Comfort women’ film reels given to film institute

By Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

From left, Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation president Theresa Yeh, director Yang Chia-yun, and Taiwan Film Institute director Wang chun-chi attend a ceremony in Taipei yesterday, as the foundation donated the original reels of Yang’s film titled A Secret Buried for 50 Years: The Story of Taiwanese Comfort Women to the institute.

Photo: CNA

The Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation yesterday marked Human Rights Day by donating the original reels for the documentary A Secret Buried for 50 Years (阿媽的秘密) to the Taiwan Film Institute.

Directed by Yang Chia-yun (楊家雲), the 1998 film tells the stories of 13 “comfort women” in Taiwan, the foundation said.

It was the first time that Taiwan’s comfort women spoke about their experiences in front of a camera, it said.

Funded by the foundation, the film won best documentary at the 35th Golden Horse Awards.

The foundation decided to donate the original reels to the institute to ensure they are preserved more professionally, it said.

At a ceremony held at the Ama Museum in Taipei’s Datong District (大同), foundation president Theresa Yeh (葉德蘭) said she hopes the donation will allow more people to see the pain brought by war.

The institute is “honored” to accept the donation, institute director Wang Chun-Chi (王君琦) said, adding that one of the institute’s important missions is to ensure that history is not forgotten.

Yang said 14 women had originally agreed to appear in the documentary, but one of them changed her mind after filming was completed, because she felt she would not be able to face her friends and family after the film was released.

For the other women, the filming process provided a form of release, she said, adding that they felt like a heavy weight had been lifted from their hearts.

More than 20 years have passed since the film was released, but the women have yet to receive the justice they deserve, Yang said.

“We can forgive ... but we cannot forget what happened,” she said.

“We must continue to fight for the justice [the comfort women] deserve,” she said. “We must continue to protest with the Japanese government ... for them to apologize.”

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