Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (Wei Te-Sheng, 2011): Mini-Film Review
Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale 賽德克•巴萊 is a four and a half hour epic account of resistance in Taiwan during an era of Japanese colonization in the 1930s. Directed by Wei Te-Sheng, director of Cape No. 7 (2008), the story follows Mona Rudao as he leads a mission--that he knows will eventually fail--with 300 Seediq aboriginal warriors against Japanese civilians and ultimately the Japanese military who eventually crush the uprising.
Mona Rudao is instilled with certainty that he is on the right side of history and that upon his death he will see his ancestors, so the film's most tragic and genuinely heart-breaking depictions are those of women and children on both sides of the multi-faceted conflict who are caught in the crosshairs of colonization. Most of the depictions of the Seediq peoples resonate with authenticity on the screen; however, the small scale depiction (despite some 1500 extras) of the Japanese colonial machinery is not as impressive compared to other historical war films. Over all, a few narrative gaps and a handful melodramatic depictions of nature clearly created via CGI make the film difficult to concentrate on consistently--similar to what happens to viewers who disengage from Zach Snyder films--even though numerous scenes are as memorable, moving, and impressive as any recorded on film today.