Few Taiwan films are more anticipated than Wei Te Sheng's 2011 historical epic Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
, based on the true story of the 1930 Wushe Incident, when the aboriginal Seediq peoples rebelled against Japanese imperialist forces. Topping the critical and commercial success of Cape No. 7
would be difficult for Wei Te Sheng, but Taiwan's top-grossing director meets the challenge head-on with this ambitious and powerful two-part epic. Produced by John Woo, Seediq Bale
required US$25 million for its lush period detail and riveting action sequences, making it the biggest endeavor in the history of Taiwan cinema. Breaking opening day records, the sweeping blockbuster was Taiwan's highest-grossing homegrown film of 2011 and the winner of Best Film at the 48th Golden Horse Awards.
Seediq Bale Part 1 sows the seeds for the film's powerful final conflict, depicting how the Seediq people are demoralized and finally reborn by their continued subjugation by the Japanese. Stripped of their native hunting grounds and forced to work deforesting the very mountains they called home, the rival Seediq tribes rallied together and violently rose up against years of Japanese repression in the 1930 Wushe Incident.
Shown in competition at the 68th Venice International Film Festival, Seediq Bale was shot primarily in the Seediq language, with some Mandarin, Taiwanese, and Japanese. Seediq priest Lin Ching Tai stars as the leader of the revolt, legendary warrior Mona Rudao, whose image is on Taiwan's 20NT coin today. Japanese actor Ando Masanobu (The Butcher, The Chef & The Swordsman), television actor and director Umin Boya, Golden Horse Best Supporting Actor winner Bokeh Kosang, Cape No. 7's Tanaka Chie, and singers Landy Wen, Irene Luo, and Vivian Hsu (Hot Summer Days) are among the film's large ensemble cast of name stars and non-professional actors.
This release includes Part I of Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale and an interview with John Woo and Wei Te Sheng.