Da Ching , Umin Boya , Masanobu Ando, Lin Ching-Tai
Directed by :Wei Te Sheng
Produced By: John Woo / Terrance Chang / Jimmy Huang
SEEDIQ BALE / aka Warriors of the Rainbow
Earlier in April this year I was able to get tickets to the UK première of Taiwan's epic film Seediq Bale ,which was shown at this years Terracotta Far East Film Festival.
In attendance was actor Da Ching and the Ambassador of Taiwan who also introduced the film.
The film on show was the International version running at approx two and half hours ,but when announced that the original cut was some four and half hours and released in two parts I new I would have to track the film in it's full version down.
The film went down well with the packed cinema in Leicester square London as well as myself ,but I new I had to view the full edit.
Well here it is the review of SEEDIQ BALE taken from the full edit which was released as two films in Taiwan ,Seediq Bale ''The Flag of the Sun'
Seediq Bale ''' The Bridge of Rainbow''.
Now to give you a insight to what the films about I will explain about the main protagonist Mona Rudao.
Mona Rudao was born in 1882 and was the son of the aboriginal Chief of the Seediq Tribesmen of Mehebu in the Wushe ( Nantou County) region of Taiwan.
He became the chief of the tribe is famous for the Wushe Region revolt in 1930. He had also visited Japan in 1911 and new of Japanese ways.
Their religious beliefs are somewhat complicated with Taoism,Buddhism and even Christianity which was introduced by the Han Chinese to Taiwan.
They also rejoiced in the practice of Head Hunting which brought good luck to their tribes.
In the film Seediq's believe that there race was from a young pair that were born from a sacred tree which consisted of half wood and half rock, and that after death they would travel to the Rainbow by way of the Rainbow Bridge . To do this they would have to offer Blood Sacrifice ,which in turn often involved Head hunting which was thought of as a omen of good luck , someone would bring home a head was a cause for celebration and the whole village would rejoice .They would boil the heads so they where clean and display them for all to see.
The Flag of Sun
The first film starts with a young Mona Rudao on a hunt and becoming a man ,hunting wild animals and also enemy tribes from other regions, once the young Mona had performed his hunt he would be allowed to bare the mark of manhood ( a series of tattoos on their head and chin) , we then see Mona as a young man (played by Da Ching) on hunts and how he has become the ruler of his tribesman. It's around this time that the Japanese have occupied Taiwan and have plans to pacify the tribes by getting them under rule and setting up villages occupied by Japanese soldiers and Police and their families.
We also touch on the relationship between the Han Chinese ( who have stores selling goods ,supplies ,Wine ect:) and how they deal with all the tribes and get along to a point.
When the Japanese invade the region of Wushe the tribes fight back but due to the Japanese war machine quickly fall foul and end up being either killed or suppressed .
Even the Mighty Mona has to fall into line or be killed .
Then the film fast forwards some twenty years to 1930 ,Wushe has villages with stores, Police stations and schools . The tribes have been subdued ,the tribes people do menial work carrying logs from the forest ( cut from the trees of their lands) to build houses and infrastructures .
For this the Tribes men are paid a pittance which they often spend on wine to forget the hardships forced upon them by the Japanese .
Of course Head Hunting is out-ruled and many of the tribes traditions have forbidden.
Young boys never earn their tattoos of man hood as they have no way of offering their Blood Sacrifice.
Things are made even worse by the Japanese Policemen who bully the Seediq,a lot of this involves one or two Japanese ,it becomes apparent that one certain officer has little to no respect for the Seediq and often belittles the men,Even though they could kill him or beat him up without thinking.
It all comes to a head ( not hat's not a joke ,but hey it could be) when said Policeman causes a ruckass at a celebration ,when offered wine he declines and insults them ,it all gets nasty when he unleashes with his baton and the tribesmen retaliate .
Mona Saves the Policeman from his own ,only to be ridiculed by said Policeman.
Mona being quite swift witted knows what the Japanese will do if they kill a Policeman and tries to make peace with the Injured Policeman ,but when this is thrown back in his face with insults,it becomes obvious that some-things going to give and unlucky for the Japanese people only take so much..
When Mona decides that it's time to take action he will need the help of the other tribal leaders ,in all there are twelve tribes ,sending out his men to entice the other leaders to go on a blood sacrifice on the very day the Japanese have their sports day in Mehebu. All the Japanese will be in one place with just a few Police located at the various stations in the region.
In the end his men can only entice another six leaders to come together for his bid to reclaim his lands.
With strategic planing they take out the various Police Stations the night before and on the day of the sports day Mehebu will be packed with most of the Mehebu Japanese. Even one of the Seediq Police officers has agreed to help with access to the arms shed.
It all kicks of at the start of the Opening ceremony of the sports day , a lone Seediq Warrior runs to wards a Police officer whilst the Japanese national anthem is being sung, he jumps up and slices through his neck with his machete like sword ,as his head flies of and hits the ground , to the horror of the watching crowd the Japanese head of after him with the remaining demanding the anthem carry on and the crowd sing, then the blood hunt begins with teams of Seediq Warriors attacking the village and slicing of the heads of any Japanese that stands in front of them ,there is no discrimination ,woman ,children are at risk to .
It's quite a horrific scene which with more heads flying then I have ever seen in any film and probably will never see again.. The lucky few actually put up a fight and may get a battle resulting in them just getting stabbed but with people running everywhere it's everyone for themselves.
Basically if your wearing a Japanese Uniform or Kimono then your at risk of losing your head.
The seediq policeman quickly change there clothes , one searches for his wife who's wearing a kimono ( damn can you imagine getting beheaded just because of what your wearing?) and if found she will die.
The battle goes on for some time until the village is basically Japanese free ( well no live ones anyway) , the Han's are OK and supply goods and food to the Seediq and then leave town.
This pretty much sums up the first part of the film and ends with Mona Rudao walking to the school-yard and sits in the centre surrounded by the dead , he has had his blood sacrifice and now the Japanese will send in the troops once they find out what he has instigated.
But then Mona knows the real battle has not started yet.
At this point of the film I felt I had been on the battle field my self ,the film draws you in and introduces you to all these people and after two and half hours you see that only half of them have survived.
Now I was ready for the conclusion......
The Bridge of Rainbow
The second part of the film starts right after the attack on the Japanese , Mona Rudao knows that the real battle is to come, the Japanese are outraged at the attack and send in Major General Kamada Yahiko to quell the uprising.
With more then three thousand troops and Police officers equipped with Guns and Canons. The over confident General vows to squash the rebels in a quick manner , but as the Japanese are sent in the Seediq Tribes go into the woods ( a place which they are used to ,as it's their hunting grounds) ,as the Japanese enter they get ambushed by the Seediq on many occasions, this just ends up winding up General Yahiko ,who is bewildered how mere three hundred Seediq Tribes men could out wit the Japanese army .
The Seediq know that they are in for a tough time, and Mona knows that few if any of the rebel Seediq Tribes will survive ,either choosing to die in battle or commit suicide then rather be caught and imprisoned by the Japanese.
The tribes that did not take part are taken out of the area and put into camps ,many of the men are executed ,due the anger the Japanese feel towards the Seediq after they had butchered not just men but woman and children to.
The Seediq woman and children are forced to leave and flee to the forests , while the men go and fight , a young boy by the name of Pawan ( a friend and one who sees Mona as his Idol)is forced to go with them ,when what he really wants is to go with the men and fight.
But when the Woman decide to commit Suicide and and kill their young to preserve food for the warriors and pregnant woman ,Pawan is told to leave and join the others with his friends.
Meanwhile the battles are continuing and many skirmishes break out with various tribes trapped by the Japanese.
But one tribe led by Temu Wallis (arch enemy of Mona Rudao) is persuaded by the Japanese Police Officer of their region to join the Japanese as part of the army to help hunt down the rebel tribes and most Importantly Mona Rudao.
It's quite a quick paced second half of the story with little time for rest for the viewer or the on-screen actors and actresses .
It will all come to ahead when Mona and his men are at loggerheads with the Japanese General who face one another on the main Bridge connecting the regions, It's here that the final face off will begin ,It's here that the differences between the International version and original print of the film differ. I can also see why the ending of the International version was chosen as opposed to showing the aftermath of the final face off.
The ending of the film slows down quite a bit,telling how Mona leaves his son to head the remaining warriors,, and goes and joins his family.
It also outlines the aftermath of the events and how Mona disappeared for nearly four years ,until his Body was found by a Young Tribes-boy.
It also tells of how his remains where displayed by the Japanese to point out what happens to Rebels who go against the Japanese of that time.
Plus it also outlines how the remains of Mona Rudao where lost after this and how it was not till the 1970's that they where uncovered in a collection of old artefacts .
Seediq Bale is a great story and one that makes for some interesting history as all the stories are true.
I really enjoyed the full version and feel all should seek out the complete package .Mainly because of the extended scenes and the way the ending is explained..
|Directed by||Wei Te-Sheng|
|Produced by||John Woo |
|Written by||Wei Te-Sheng|
|Starring||Umin Boya |
|Music by||Ricky Ho|
|Distributed by||The ARS Film Production |
VIE VISION PICTURES
Huaxia Film Distribution Company (China)
|Release date(s)||Part 1: |
|Running time||Part 1: 144 minutes |
Part 2: 132 minutes
Both: 276 minutes
Single version: 150 minutes
|Language||Seediq, Japanese, Taiwanese Hokkien, Mandarin Chinese|
|Budget||NT$ 700 - 750 million|
(US$ 23 - 25 million)
| ||Masanobu Andô||...|| |
| ||Umin Boya||...|| |
| ||Chi-Wei Cheng||...|| |
Jin - Dun Wu
| ||Lin Ching-Tai||...|| |
| ||Da-Ching||...|| |
Mona Rudao - young
| ||Jun'ichi Haruta||...|| |
| ||Michio Hayashida||...|| |
Hua-Lien Police Chief
| ||Akira Hibino||...|| |
The General Oshima
| ||Vivian Hsu||...|| |
| ||Yi-Fan Hsu||...|| |
Ichiro Hanaoka aka Dakis Nomin
| ||Yoshitaka Ishizuka||...|| |
| ||Kenji Kasai|| || |
| ||Sabu Kawahara||...|| |
| ||Yûichi Kimura||...|| |
| ||Bowkeh Kowsang||...|| |
Source : Wikipedia
I think if your seeing the film at the cinema then the international version of the film is a good route to go ,unless of course the two parts where shown with a break in between. I don't like when films are released and you have to wait six months to see the concluding part at the local cinema.
Kill Bill was like that and it drove me mad waiting for ages to see the conclusion, I would have much preferred to see them in the same night or the next day.
I would have gladly spent a double ticket price to see Seediq Bale complete in one sitting with a break .Here at K.I.T.G. Were not fans of edited films and always try and seek out the full versions of any films out there.
So here are the following scores for the film in it's varying versions.
Maybe in the future I will look into getting the Bluray versions and cover those Independently .
Warriors of the Rainbow ''Seediq Bale ''International version Cinema Screening = 8 out of Ten
Seediq Bale ''The Flag of Sun'' Taiwan version DVD part 1 = 9 out of Ten
Seediq Bale '' The Bridge of Rainbow ''Taiwan version DVD part 2 = 8 out of Ten
As a complete package parts 1 and 2 on DVD get a overall of 9
Why the varying scores ? well it's mainly down to the fact of the extended scenes in the full version of part 1 adding even more depth to a great film ,with part 2 the brunt of the film was pretty much the same as the international version until you get to the final 25 minutes. Which is all new compared to the International version. So why did part 2 Not get 9 like part one ,well some slightly dodgy CGI effects ever so slightly let the film down from a getting the maximum score.
But make no mistake ,what ever version you end up seeing, Seediq Bale is one of the finest films I have seen this year and one which will be hard to beat.