賽德克‧巴萊 Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale

During the Japanese rule of Taiwan, non-Japanese living on the island were forced to lose their cultures and ways of living and work for the Japanese. Among those are the Seediq 賽德克族, a Taiwanese aboriginal people living in central and eastern part of the island. Men have to haul lumber off the mountains and are kept off the traditional hunting-grounds, while women have to do housework for Japanese policemen instead of tending their traditional weaving. Above all, they were forbidden from tattooing their faces, a process that is considered essential for one to become Seediq Bale, or true humans, in the Seediq belief system.

Mona Rudao, on Taiwan’s NT$20 coin.

Mona Rudao 莫那·魯道, son of one of Seediq tribes’ leader, witnessed the suffering ofhis people for over 30 years while their belief and culture wither, and their homeland and hunting grounds shrink.

In 1930, a young Seediq couple got married and a party was thrown. A newly-appointed Japanese policeman goes on an inspection tour, is offered wine from Mona Rudao’s son, Tado Mona. He rejects the wine as coming from dirty hands and beat up Mona Rudao’s son. With anger, Tado retaliates with his brother and beat up the policeman. From that day forward, the Seediq people start living in fear of revenge from the Japanese people.

A few days later, young people of the tribe gather and ask Mona Rudao to lead an attack against the Japanese people. Knowing they would lose and torn between guarding the dignity of the people and saving his people from complete annihilation, he finally agrees to lead and fight after seeing the youth’s faces – clean without Seediq tattoos. When the Seediq Bale, believing in the Rainbow, and the Japanese, believing in the Sun, met one another, they fought. Mona Rudao led 300 warriors fighting against 3000 Japanese troopers. The only thing they forgot was whether it was the Rainbow or the Sun they believed in, they actually believed in the same sky.

The Warriors of Rainbow: Seediq Bale 賽德克‧巴萊, a film directed by Wei Te-Sheng 魏德聖, the same person behind Cape No. 7 海角七號, the second top grossing film in the Taiwan’s cinematic history (after Titanic), depicts the Wushe Inciden 霧社事件, one of the most famous and largest rebillion against Japanese rule in Taiwan. Part I of the film is set to released on September 9, 2011 in Taiwan, while Part II will be released three weeks after, on September 30, 2011. The international edition was edited down to 2.5 hours in one single film. The film premiered at the Venice International Film Festival on September 1st, 2011 and received a 10 minutes standing ovation afterwards.

Follow Seediq Bale on Facebook, Wretch 無名 (Traditional Chinese), 新浪 (Simplified Chinese), and Ameba (Japanese).

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