Skip to main content


Taiwan, 1996 (MIFF 1997, Regional)

Director: Wu Nien-jen

Taiwan's colonial past is brought into sharp and ironic relief in Wu Nien-jen's satiric com­edy. Though the settings and cultural references are very specific, audiences will have no trouble recognising a universal story of America's conquering heroes, their duplicitous hosts, inevitable rebellion and ubiquitous self-interest.

During the Vietnam War, a pocket of arid farm land on the Taiwan coast is commandeered for a joint US-Taiwan military exercise, possibly of a dangerous and experimental nature. Meanwhile, the villagers whose fields have been wrecked content themselves with gifts of canned food, impossibly over-sized denim trousers and what­ever their pranks can yield.

Writer-director Wu pointedly shifts the focus to an understanding of how Taiwan's colonial past allowed such a takeover to occur in the first place. And as we watch the translators' wilful deception of both sides and the seduction of the poor villagers, one can start to believe exactly how it happens as well as the price they will pay.

See also...


... ... Too often, children only understand their par­ents when it's all too late. First time director Wu Nien-jen was long established as Taiwan's top screenwriter before being moved to make ... More »


Sogo Ishii's Labyrinth Of Dreams is radically removed from Angel Dust, his last film seen in Australia (MIFF 1995). However their polar differ­ences indicate the breadth and scope of Ishii's ... More »


In this intensely personal documentary, film­maker Nick Deocampo traces the tumultuous public history of the Philippines through its dev­astating effect on the private history of his own life ... More »


Alternating between humour and irony, Takeshi Kitano's hard edged look at disaffect­ed youth follows the life of two high school fail­ures, Shinji and Masaru, and their fate in the unyielding ... More »


A moving and thought provoking second film by Meepok Man director Eric Khoo, 12 Storeys is a look at a day in the life of three households in a Housing and Development Board estate of cramped ... More »


Hong Kong maverick Wong Kar-wai mixes up a heady brew of race, culture and sexuality in Happy Together, his latest film dealing with a gay Chinese couple residing in Buenos Aires. The director's star ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director