Dishes of An Afternoon Meal

下午飯的菜

After working for a weather channel for two years, documentary filmmaker Huang Chi-mao picked up a camera himself and faithfully recorded bits and pieces of the Tao peoples’ lives with a camera style very close to the subject.

The sixty-one year old Lin Xin-yu and his wife of the Yeyin tribe are the main subjects in this film. Mr. Lin served before as the seventh term representative for Taitung (in the southeast of Taiwan). His crafty political career didn’t make him forget the simple, natural life of the Tao people. One afternoon, Mr. Lin said he wanted to go spear fishing. When Huang Chi-mao heard about this, already familiar to Mr. Lin, he joined him, took along his camera and shot precious images of Mr. Lin at work spearing fish. Despite the tumultuous waves, he still speared five fish with ease. At the same time, Mrs. Lin and their aunt and uncle collected shellfish on the shore. These fish, the shellfish, and sweet potatoes from the fields are the “Dishes of an Afternoon Meal” for the Lin family.

Voice of Orchid island

As the film begins, one Orchid Islander says, “I often feel that the more research anthropologists do on this island, the worse the island is harmed…” This work is the visual anthropologist’s recorded answer to this question.

The film director tries to use the camera to explore the disillusionment and frustration of the Tao people. She moves between the islanders and outsiders, using people of three identities and three appearances to reflect on the contradictions and conflict that follows with the meeting of the Tao people and external influences.

Fear of tourists? In the first part we observe Tao opposition to the spectators’ cameras and the perception and requirements of money. Fear of evil ghosts? The second part reveals a Bunun who volunteered as a medical doctor to serve in Orchid Island telling of his own inherent doubts and reveals the worries and frustrations vis-à-vis modern medical concepts and local traditional beliefs. Fear of the nuclear waste plant? In the third part two young local nuclear protesters face the camera directly and tell their personal reasons for their actions. They speak of their own special way of life and the threat of its destruction.

Silent Cello

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In year 2000, American cellist David Darling came to the far mountains in southern Taiwan. He was stunned when he first heard the pure voices of Bunu children. “That day,” he said,” my cello became silent.” Two years later, he returned to the aborigine village with an unprecedented music plan-using his cello and the Bunu voice to start a music conversation.

This 55-minute documentary follows the footsteps of the cellist and wholly records David’s stay in the Bunu village: the recording process, the interaction with the local and with nature. The director takes an outsider view, honestly displaying the motion among the aborigines, Han people, and western culture. Here, music is the only language. Thanks to music, people of different culture build up a strong friendship. Through the usage of colorful images, clear strong music, and the deep in-holding emotions, the film presents a humble village, a group of harmonious people, and a touching clash of eastern and western music.

Forward Forest Dream

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A sever earthquake shattered the modest living in this small village in the middle of Taiwan. In order to rebuild their ruined elementary school and transform it into an ecological forest school to fit the natural environment, villagers of Neihu, the small, undeveloped village, stand up to fight their war with the great and advanced National Taiwan University.

Being the number one university of Taiwan, NTU possess tremendous resource and authority from tangible to intangible. The famous Chitou Recreational Area is practically under the reign of NTU. The reasons of forest conservation and geological safety keep NTU from proffering the land to Neihu Elementary School. Especially when the land Neihu Elementary School asks is inside the NTU Experimental Forest.

The problems between the small and the big are revealed. When the authority is challenged, when professional knowledge confronts people’s living, where can the equilibrium to be reached? Can the dream of a school in forest to be realized? An enchanting story unfolds. The dream of the forest is on its journey to be completed.

Dawu Melody

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The word “music” does not exist in the Tao language, however, music and sound are indispensable in the lives of Tao people. The ever-present singing and chanting in Tao society are an integral part of their culture. Their music “does not seek to please the ears. The goal is simply to express every aspect of life through sound.”

With the Tao songs introduced one after another in the documentary, the audience gradually enters the musical world of Orchid Island. After being handed down and renovated by generations and generations, Tao music reflects the social developments over the past hundred years.

Tao rhythm and sound has always been integrated with their lives over the years. The only way to pass this tradition down is through the memory of the elders, along with their own individual creativity. What will the future of Tao music be…