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'Seediq Bale' finds new audience in exiled Tibetan community
Central News Agency
2013-02-14 12:58 PM
Taipei, Feb. 14 (CNA) The epic Taiwanese film "Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale," a saga about Taiwanese aboriginal resistance to Japanese colonial rule, has found a new audience in an exiled Tibetan community in Dharamshala, India. Tibetan Buddhist monks and youth alike are watching the movie on their TV sets and computers, Tibetan writer and activist Tenzin Tsundue told CNA recently. "My friend Dr. Tseng Chien-yuan of National Taiwan University introduced me to the film and gave me a DVD set of it. He even took me with his family to the film location on the outskirts of Taipei," said Tsundue, who later took the movie to his community in India. Ever since its first screening among the Tibetans in July last year, there has been an "unprecedented craze" about the film, he said. Tibetan activist Dorjee Tsetan said Tibetans can identify with the movie. "The courage with which the Taiwanese fought for freedom against Japanese invasion is what makes every Tibetan relate to the story of Seediq Bale," he said. Directed by Wei Te-sheng, the 2011 film depicts the tragic Wushe Incident in the 1930s when the Seediq tribe, led by one of its chiefs Mona Rudao, revolted against Japanese rule in central Taiwan. Often compared to the Hollywood epics "Braveheart" and "The Last of the Mohicans," "Seediq Bale" is by far the highest grossing and most expensive Taiwanese film ever made, at a cost of NT$700 million (US$23.69 million). Tashi Tsering, a Tibetan Buddhist monk who watched the two-part film with other monks from his monastery, said it was great and scary all at once. "The movie is action packed -- the sword fighting is fantastic -- but I was scared most of the time. This is the first Taiwanese film I have ever seen and I love it," he said. Sonam Dolker, a young Tibetan teacher, said she was moved to tears by the story. "I cried when I saw the women hang themselves in despair in the jungle. I wished they had fought alongside the men as my mother did against the invading Chinese army," Dolker said. Another young Tibetan woman Dolma Tsering said she did not like the portrayal of women in the film. "They are shown to be so passive," said Tsering, a baker and a mother of two. Drawing a comparison between the Seediq tribe story and Tibetan people's struggle for freedom, Tsundue said more than 96 Tibetans have reportedly set themselves on fire over the past few years in protest against Chinese rule. "Tibetan self-immolations are efforts to speak to the conscience of the Chinese people," Tsundue said. But unlike the tragic ending of the film, Tsundue said, there is hope for Tibet's future. "Our freedom struggle is a challenging one, but we have His Holiness the Dalai Lama with us." (By Christie Chen)
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