Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (Seediq: Seediq
Bale (help·info); literally Real Seediq or Real Men; Chinese:
賽德克·巴萊; pinyin: Sàidékè Bālái) is a 2011 Taiwanese
historical drama film directed by
Wei Te-sheng and produced by John
Woo, based on the 1930
Wushe Incident in central Taiwan.
The full version of the film shown in
Taiwan is divided into two
parts — Part 1 is called "太陽旗" (The Sun Flag), and Part 2
is called "彩虹橋" (The Rainbow Bridge), running a total of four
and half hours. However, the original two parts of the film were
combined into the single international cut version; its run time was
The film was shown in competition at the 68th Venice International
Film Festival and was selected as a contender for nomination for the
84th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film in 2011.
It was one of nine films shortlisted to advance to the next round of
voting for nomination.
The film is the most expensive production in Taiwanese cinema history.
The film has also been compared to the 1995 film
Braveheart by Mel
Gibson and The Last of the Mohicans by the media in Taiwan.
1.1 Part I
1.2 Part II
5.1 Critical response
6 See also
8 External links
Warriors of the Rainbow depicts the Wushe Incident, which occurred
Qilai Mountain of
Taiwan under Japanese rule. Mona Rudao, a chief
of Mahebu village of Seediq people, led warriors fighting against the
The film begins with a hunt by a mountain river in Taiwan. Two Bunun
men are hunting a boar, but they are attacked by a group led by young
Mona Rudao of Seediq people.
Mona Rudao invades the territory, kills
one of them and takes away the boar.
In 1895, China cedes
Taiwan to Japan via the Treaty of Shimonoseki.
The Japanese invasion of
Taiwan ends with Japan defeating Han Chinese
resistance. Japanese military officials see the natives as an obstacle
to the resources of Taiwan. Later a team of Japanese soldiers are
attacked by natives. The attack leads to a battle between Japanese and
natives, including Mona Rudao, on a cliff trail. On his way to trade
with Han Chinese off the mountain,
Mona Rudao also feuds with Temu
Walis, a Seediq young man from Toda group. The Japanese ban people
from trading with Mona Rudao, and collaborate with a group of Bunun to
get Mona Rudao's men drunk and ambush them when they are asleep. After
some battles (the 1902 人止關 and 1903 姊妹原), Rudao Luhe,
Mona Rudao's father, is injured. Their village, Mahebu, and
neighboring villages fall under the control of the Japanese.
Twenty years pass. Mahebu and other villages are forced to abolish the
custom of keeping the heads they have hunted. Men are subject to
low-wage logging jobs and prohibited from owning guns, and from
traditional animal and human hunting. Women work in houses of the
Japanese and give up the traditional weaving work. Children, including
Pawan Nawi, attend school in Wushe village. Men buy alcohol and
medicine from a grocery owned by a Han man, who the men hold a grudge
against as they are now in debt. Above all, they are forbidden to
tattoo their faces, because to earn that tattoo the young men must
kill an enemy and take their head. The tattoo is believed to be the
Seediq people to "go to the other side across the
Rainbow Bridge" after death. There are also young people such as Dakis
Nomin, Dakis Nawi, Obing Nawi and Obing Tadao, who adopt Japanese
names, education and life style and attempt to work and live among
Japanese. The Japanese, except a few, are not aware of the tension.
In late autumn of 1930, the village of
Mona Rudao holds a wedding for
a young couple.
Mona Rudao goes hunting for the wedding and quarrels
for hunting ground with Temu Walis, who is hunting with Japanese
policeman, Kojima Genji, and his son. At the wedding, Yoshimura, a
newly appointed and nervous Japanese policeman, inspects the village.
Mona Rudao's first son, Tado Mona, offers to share his homebrewed
millet wine with Yoshimura, but Yoshimura considers the beer
unsanitary as it is fermented with saliva, and Tado Mona's hands are
also covered in blood from an animal he has just slaughtered. A fight
with Tado Mona and his brother Baso Mona ensues. The fight is stopped,
but Yoshimura fears for his life and threatens to punish the whole
Mona Rudao tries to mend relations with Yoshimura, who
refuses to accept the apology. Young men, including Piho Sapo from
Hogo village, see the mass punishment as unacceptable and urge Mona
Rudao to start war with the Japanese.
Mona Rudao tells them that it is
impossible to win, but accepts that the war is unavoidable and decides
In a few days
Mona Rudao calls on villages with pacts to join forces.
They schedule to attack the Japanese on October 27, when Japanese will
attend a sports game (in memory of Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa) and
gather on the schoolyard of the Wushe Village. The women, including
Mona Rudao's first daughter, Mahung Mona, know the men are planning
for a war and are saddened by the prospect.
Dakis Nomin, a young man who adopted the Japanese name Hanaoka Ichiro
and became a police officer, notices that
Mona Rudao is preparing for
war. He comes to a waterfall and tries to persuade
Mona Rudao not to
start the war, instead
Mona Rudao persuades him to collaborate. After
Dakis Nomin leaves,
Mona Rudao sings with the ghost of Rudao Luhe and
determines to start the war. In the night before, Mahung Mona tries to
seduce her husband, which would break a tribal rule and prohibit him
from going to war the next day. The natives attack the police
Mona Rudao then rallies young men from village to village,
and at last chief Tadao Nogan of Hogo village agrees to join Mona
Rudao. Everyone is clear about the outcome of the war: the death
of the native warriors is certain, but they are willing to fight
anyway, because only a warrior with blood on his hand can enter the
"land of their ancestors". The combined warriors decide to rather
fight and die in honour, rather than live in shame.
On October 27 the attack takes place as scheduled, with the killing of
all Japanese men, women, and children. Pawan Nawi and other boys kill
their Japanese teacher and his family. Obing Nawi, a woman who wears
Japanese clothes, is spared only because her husband Dakis Nomin
covers her with a native cloth. Obing Tadao, who is daughter of chief
Tadao Nogan and who also wears Japanese clothes, survives by hiding in
a storage room. Han people such as the grocer are spared during the
attack. Native people attack a police station and take the guns found
in the building. One Japanese police officer escapes and tells the
outside world about the attack. The film ends with
Mona Rudao sitting
in the schoolyard which is full of bodies.
The second film begins with Dakis Nomin and Dakis Nawi writing their
last words on the wall, showing their ambivalence. When the news of
war breaks open, policeman Kojima Genji is threatened by the natives,
but convinces Temu Walis and his men to side with Japan. The colonial
government sees the uprising as a major crisis, and sends Major
General Kamada Yahiko with a force of 3,000 police and soldiers to
fight the 300 men on Mona Rudao's side. Pawan Nawi and other boys earn
their face tattoos. In a woods some people begin to commit mass
suicide, Dakis Nomin, his wife Obing Nawi, and infant son Dakis Nawi
General Kamada is furious with the stalemate and orders the use of
illegal poison gas bombs against the natives. Kojima Genji sets
bounties on men, women and children in Mona Rudao's village, and
orders Temu Walis and his men to fight Mona Rudao.
The battle turns against Mona Rudao's side, many of his men are killed
by poison gas and Temu Walis' men. Mona Rudao's people lose the
village to the Japanese and other natives and retreat to caves. Pawan
Nawi and the boys feel desperate and ask to fight side by side with
Mona Rudao asks them to recite their creation story in
which the first man and first woman are formed from a tree that is
half stone half wood.
In the retreat the women kill the children then hang themselves on
trees to conserve food for the warriors. Piho Sapo also helped his
injured relative, Piho Walis, to hang himself. Temu Walis is shaken
when he sees the hanged women, and claims that he fights for his own
sake not for Kojima.
Mona Rudao and his men launch a desperate attack on the Japanese force
occupying the Mahebu village. Baso Mona is injured and asks his
brother to kill him. Pawan Nawi and the boys die fighting. Meanwhile,
in a river, Temu Walis and his men are ambushed by Piho Sapo and other
men. Before he dies, Temu Walis hallucinates that he is fighting a
young Mona Rudao.
Mona Rudao sees the fight is near the end, he gives leadership to
Tado Mona, and returns to his wife and children (the movie implies two
versions of the story, one is that
Mona Rudao shot his wife, the other
is that the wife hanged herself). Some people of the village
surrender and survive. Natives present and identify heads of the dead
to the Japanese leadership for rewards, and it is shown that in the
battle they feud with each other even further. Mahung Mona is
resuscitated by the Japanese, and is sent to offer Tado Mona's men
wine and a chance to surrender. The men take the wine, and sing and
dance with the women, but refuse to surrender. Tado Mona tells Mahung
Mona to give birth to and raise offspring, and leads men to hang
themselves in woods. Piho Sapo is captured and tortured to death. The
war ends, and even Kamada is impressed by his enemy's spirit. The
surviving people of the villages that rebel are removed from their
homes, and are later attacked by Kojima.
Mona Rudao is missing, and a
native hunter is led by a bird to find his body. The hunter then sees
Mona Rudao and his people following the Seediq legend to cross the
rainbow bridge. The film ends with a scene of several natives telling
their creation story.
Nolay Piho (林慶台, Lin Ching-tai) as Mona Rudao:
Mona Rudao is the
protagonist. The character deviates from the real historical figure
significantly. The movie character is described as a calm,
authoritative and mature Seediq Tgdaya village chief of Mahebu. He
lived under Japanese rule for 30 years and had been to Japan. He
understands Japan's power, but thinks it brings
Seediq people no good,
and insists on maintaining their own culture. In history, Mona Rudao
did not participate in some of the battles described in the film.
Whereas he was famous, he was one of many leaders in the uprising.
There are controversies over the film's depiction of Mona Rudao
shooting his wife and children. In 2010 some
Seediq people held a
forum and said that it is impossible for
Mona Rudao to do such a thing
as it is forbidden by the "gaya" custom. The director responded that
he changed the scene to make the situation ambiguous. There are
also controversies of whether
Mona Rudao is depicted as a hero. Nolay
Piho is a 51-year-old Presbyterian minister from Nan-ao, Yilan. Nolay
is of Atayal origin. Nolay is not a professional actor, nor does he
speak Seediq or Japanese language. Nolay used Romanization and Chinese
characters to memorize his lines. It was difficult for him to act and
the mood on site was tense. He almost had a heart attack during the
shooting. In addition, Lin is shorter than the character. Lin
also starred in a short the director made about going to Venice for
film festival. The movie brought Lin much publicity and appearance but
he said he still wants to be a minister. He moved to a village with
legal issues in Wulai, Taipei.
Yuki Daki (大慶, Da Ching) as
Mona Rudao (young): The younger Mona
Rudao is described as a tall, athletic and aggressive man. Yuki Daki
is a 34 years old male model of Atayal origin.
Umin Boya (馬志翔) as Temu Walis: Temu Walis is described as a
lifelong enemy of Mona Rudao, and he is forced to cooperate with
Umin Boya is a TV actor with Seediq origin from Yuli,
Hualien. Umin has starred in several series by
Television Service, including the role of Dakis Nomin in the period
drama Danu Sakura. In promotion, director Wei commented that Temu
Walis' cooperation with Japanese is controversial, and the character
has long been depicted as negative, and Wei cast
Umin Boya to use his
positive image. Umin said in promotion that he is from the Toda group
of Temu Walis and he is glad to play the part. Ma later direct the
movie Kano produced by Wei.
Pawan Nawi (曾秋勝, Zeng Qiusheng) as Rudao Luhe. Pawan also served
as translator and coach for the Seediq language.
Umin Walis (林源傑, Lin Yuan-jie) as Pawan Nawi: Pawan Nawi is a
young boy of Mahebu village. He and other boys grew up under Japanese
rule, earn face tattoos and die in the uprising. The character seems
to be based on a memoir of Seediq elder. However Dakis Pawan, a
consultant of the movie, strongly doubted the existence of such a
group of boys. Uim Walis is a junior high school student and a member
of school wrestling team. He is of Atayal origin from Ren-ai, Nantou.
Yakau Kuhon (田駿, Tian Jun) as Tado Mona: Tado Mona is Mona Rudao's
first son. The character wears the darker cloth.
Pawan Neyung (李世嘉, Lee Shih-chia) as Baso Mona: Baso Mona is
Mona Rudao's second son.
Pihu Nawi (張志偉, Chang Chih-wei) as Biho Sapo: Biho Sapo is a
historical young man from Hogo village neighboring Mahebu village of
Mona Rudao. The record suggests that he may not be as influential as
described in the film. In the film the character encourages Mona Rudao
and Hogo village to fight Japanese, fights with
Mona Rudao and later
kills Temu Walis.
Masanobu Ando (安藤政信) as Kojima Genji (小島源治): Kojima
Genji is a Japanese police who is once friendly toward the natives and
tries to learn the language, but he becomes hostile after his family
is killed by the natives. Historically, Kojima is responsible for the
massacres of the natives who survived the war.
Kawahara Sabu (河原佐武) as General Kamada Yahiko (鎌田弥彦).
Kimura Yuichi (木村祐一) as Satsuka Ayu (佐塚愛祐): a police
officer in Wushe.
Landy Wen (溫嵐, AKA Yungai Hayung) as Mahung Mona: She is a
Mona Rudao and a mother of two.
Landy Wen is a popular
singer of Atayal origin from Jianshi, Hsinchu.
Bokeh Kosang (徐詣帆) as Dakis Nomin: Dakis Nomin, or Hanaoka
Ichiro (花岡一郎), is a Seediq Tgdaya man who adopts Japanese
education and name, and works as a policeman. Historically, the man
did not participate the October 27 attack. Later he and his relatives
committed suicide, and the suicide was widely reported by the colonial
Bokeh Kosang is a stage and TV actor of Truku origin from
Hualien. Bokeh joined Chinese singing competition
Chinese Idol and got
Yokuy Utaw (羅美玲) as Obing Nawi: Obing Nawi, or Kawano Hanako
(川野花子), is a Seediq Tgadaya woman who also adopts Japanese
education, name, and work. She is from Dakis Nomin's village, and knew
him from childhood, becomes his wife, and lets him kill her after the
school attack. Yokuy Utaw is a singer and actress with Atayal origin
from Jianshi, Hsinchu.
Vivian Hsu (徐若瑄, AKA Bidai Syulan) as Obing Tadao: Obing Tadao,
or Takayama Hatsuko (高山初子) is a cousin of Kawano Hanako, and
they share a similar background. In history the woman survived the war
and the two massacres after the war. Hsu is a singer and actor with
Atayal origin, and has a career in Japan.
Chie Tanaka as Kojima Matsuno: Kojima Matsuno (小島松野) is
Kojima's wife. The woman and her children are killed in October 27
Chie Tanaka (田中千繪) is a Japanese actress who
Wei Te-sheng before in Cape No. 7.
Cheng Chih-wei (鄭志偉) as Wu Jindun (巫金墩): The Han Chinese
grocer on Wushe. Cheng collaborated with
Wei Te-sheng before in Cape
Ma Ju-lung: A Han Chinese grocer off the mountains. Ma Ju-lung
(馬如龍) is an actor of earlier Taiwanese films, and collaborated
Wei Te-sheng before in Cape No. 7.
According to an interview, Wei's idea to make Warriors of the Rainbow
began in 1996, when he watched a news story about an aboriginal group
demanding the government to return some lands. Wei then saw the next
story questioning whether the sovereignty over Hong Kong should return
to China or
Republic of China
Republic of China in 1997. Wei found this ironic, and the
next day he went to a bookstore to read about aborigines. There he
found Chiu Ruo-lung (Chinese: 邱若龍; pinyin: Qiu Ruolung)'s comic
book on the Wushe Incident. Wei became interested in chief Mona Rudao
and why he launched the war. From 1997 to 1999, Wei wrote and revised
a screenplay, and looked up historical background.
In 2000 Wei finished the screenplay, which won the Excellent Film
Screenplay award from
Government Information Office
Government Information Office (GIO). In 2003,
Wei raised NTD 2.5 million, which he used to shoot a five-minute
demonstration film. The film was sounded by Tu Du-chih, edited by
Bowen Chen (both are awards winning filmmakers, and both later also
worked on the complete film). The short was starred by actor Liao
Chin-sheng (廖金生), actress Tseng Yu-chun (曾玉春) and others.
The film was screened on 24 November 2003, and the goal was to raise
USD 7 million (about NTD 250 million), which is rather expensive for
Taiwanese movies at the time. (In 2008 Wei said his
wife supported his decision to spend 2 million on the short film when
the crew was against him) The screening failed to raise money, and
Wei's family met difficulty, but Wei insisted his budget to be NTD 200
According to an interview in 2008, director
Chen Kuo-fu told Wei that
in order to earn investors' trust, Wei should make another film first.
So Wei turned to make Cape No. 7. In
Cape No. 7
Cape No. 7 Wei chose non-famous
actors, a story with multiple lines, and colonial period references to
demonstrate the feasibility of these three elements. Chiu Ruo-lung
also came to work with Wei as art (costume) designer on this film and
In 2008, the success of
Cape No. 7
Cape No. 7 brought Wei money and fame, and Wei
restarted promotion for Warriors of the Rainbow. But fundraising was
still difficult. In 2009, Wei suggested the difficulty is that though
the success of
Cape No. 7
Cape No. 7 attracted investors who are new to the
filmmaking business, they were not comfortable with uncertainty
involved. In 2011 Wei looked back and said: "I quickly realized
that potential investors were looking more for Cape No. 8 than Seediq
Bale." The investors were skeptical of the subject of Seediq Bale, and
doubted if the success of
Cape No. 7
Cape No. 7 can be repeated.
Teng Sue-feng in a report in February 2009 suggested that the budget
of the film is "NTD 330 million", and that "Wei already has almost a
third of" this budget. Teng points out that, besides the profit from
Cape No. 7
Cape No. 7 also earned Wei a subsidy of about 104
Government Information Office
Government Information Office for the next film. In
May 2009, the casting met difficulties of finding aboriginal extras
and actors for a war epic. The government made a special arrangement
to allow 20 enlisted men to act in the movie. At the time the film was
set to be released in mid-2010.
Typhoon Morakot impacted
Taiwan in August 2009. Tu Duu-chih
said the typhoon destroyed the film's set and sent the estimated
budget from NTD 200 million to 600 million. By November 2011, Peng
reported the budget to be 700 million, and the grant from GIO was 130
The crew built a set in Arrow Studio in Linkou,
New Taipei City
New Taipei City to
recreate scenes of Wushe Village in the 1930s. Taneda Yohei is the
artistic director supervising the art team. The set had 36 houses.
Some houses had interior decoration and props of the period. The set
cost NT$80 million. After the filming was completed, the set was open
to visitors for a while.
The filming hired 400 technicians from Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong,
and hired 1,500 non-professional as actors. The filming began in
October 2009, took 10 months and was completed on 5 September
2010. Chin Ting-Chang is the director of cinematography who
worked with Wei on several movies. Chin said he chose to use
"Hollywood way" to shoot the epic in many short takes, which provide
more choices for editing and reduce risk of failure. Chin also
designed the use of wire cam which is said to be the first in
Taiwanese cinema. The sound recording and design were by Tu Duu-chih
and Tang Hsiang-chu (湯湘竹). Foo Sing-choong (胡陞忠) is
supervisor of digital effects and worked with Beijing's Crystal CG on
this movie. Originally a Korean company was hired for the job but the
company bankrupted so the job was switched to Crystal CG instead, and
many complained about the result. Korean crew include
Yang Gil-yeong (양길영, AKA Yang Kil Yong, 梁吉泳), Shim Jae-won
(심재원 沈在元) who are action directors and nominated by Golden
Horse Award, and Yi Chi Yun (李治允) who is a supervisor of special
effects. Yang and Shim hired Korean stunt crew at first, but later
switched to Chinese crew which is cheaper. However Chinese crew has a
shorter working permit so they switched to
Taiwan crew for the rest.
Korean firm Cel Art provided body parts props. Many original music
scores are composed by Singapoean composer Rick Ho with a price of NTD
7 million. The lyrics were written by Wei and Jiang Zide and later
translated. The movie script was originally written in Chinese, and
translated into Seediq by Iwan Nawi and Dakis Pawan. Iwan Nawi later
published her translation of the script. Dakis Pawan is also credited
for the translation of the script, and recorded his pronunciation of
the lines for coaching. Dakis Pawan, Iwan Perin and Zeng Qiusheng
(actor of Rudao Luhe) coached the cast with the language, and served
as translators on shooting site.
Some scenes were filmed on mountain slope or in river, with actors
wearing little cloths. Rain, coldness, slippery slopes and running
were challenging to both the crew and cast. Injuries were frequent.
Problem of financing is constant. Wei said that he had to direct the
film and raise the money at the same time, and the company often ran
out of money for payrolls and props. There were reports that the film
could never be finished. Polly Peng reports that: "Wei's film company
frequently couldn't pay the crew on time [...] the Taiwanese scenic
designers went on strike, the Korean action team just left, and the
Japanese art team refused to hand over completed designs...." In
2010, the Central Pictures Corporation (CMPC) invested 350 million and
was said to end financial difficulty. Taiwanese celebrities
including Jay Chou, Jerry Yan,
Chang Hsiao-yen and
Doze Niu also
invested, and were acknowledged in the credits.
The film hired many non-professional actors, including for the main
character of young and older Mona Rudao. The film's use of Japanese
Seediq language was also a challenge to non-professional
On 2 September 2011,
Warriors of the Rainbow had its world premiere at
the 68th Venice International Film Festival, but the original two
parts are combined into the one cut version and its running time is
two and half hours. It also was shown at the 2011 Toronto
International Film Festival in September. A controversy began when the
film was listed as "China, Taiwan", and widened into political
arguments when Chinese reporters criticized the film and Taiwanese
On September 4, the film held its premiere of Part 1 in
Ketagalan Boulevard. On September 7, the director held a
small-scale screening of Part 1 and Part 2 in Qingliu, Ren-ai, Nantou
to keep an earlier promise with local people. (Japanese government
moved the survivors of the rebellious villages to this place). The
nationwide release of Part 1 was on September 9, and Part 2 on
By 22 November 2011, its box office in
Taiwan reached NTD 880 million
The film opened 27 April 2012 in the US in New York, Los Angeles, and
the San Francisco Bay Area.
The film premiered in Beijing on 6 May 2012, and released nationwide
on 10. Chinese online reviews find the battle scenes moving, and
identify with the people's faith.  On the test-screening in
Guangzhou, Wei said the Chinese version is the 2.5 hours long new
international version, not the version screened in Venice Film
Festival. Wei said that the version is not incomplete. Wei said that
Taiwan version has to be longer to respond to domestic demand for
more historical details, while the international version can be
shorter and focuses on the story. Wei also noted that the 4.5 hours
long version was not successful in Hong Kong commercially. Beside, the
soundtrack of Japanese and Seediq dialogue is kept without re-dubbing.
Zheng Zhaokui (郑照魁) from
Nanfang Daily however commented that
2.5 hours international version is not as satisfying as the 4.5 hours
full version, and many aspects of the story were reduced. Zheng also
noted that audience found the suicide of Seediq women heavy. The
DVD release is delayed to wait for screening in China.
In Japan, the film premiered in March 2012 on a film festival. Wider
screening began on 20 April 2013.
In South Korea, the movies were screened in 5 theaters in 2014. Only
about 8000 people saw the part one, and 10 the part two. Lim Dae-Guen
noted that the films received relatively high score on portal website
Naver. Lim argued that the most Korean audience are unfamiliar with
Taiwanese history and ethnic groups, but the few who have seen it
rated the movie positively, both for its quality and for their
identification with its anti-Japanese theme.
Early reaction to the movie has noted both the realism of its violence
(which is due to the historical accuracy of its depictions of battle),
and its undertone of Taiwanese nationalism. A review in The Economist
avers that the film "[q]uite probably... has the highest number of
graphic beheadings of any film anywhere. But they are faithful
historical depictions." As
Walter Russell Mead
Walter Russell Mead further commented,
"This type of movie, done well, can inspire whole societies with
nationalist pride, reinforce the prominence of folk heroes (including,
quite often, violent ones), and strengthen a people's togetherness at
the expense of foreigners." Chen Wen from Shanghai Morning Post
reported that the premiere was not liked and commented that
"Blood-thirst doesn't make an epic." Chen commented that the film is
too long and the depiction of Seediq violence weakened the
righteousness of resistance. Chen associated this with Wei's
ambivalence toward Japan. Producer
John Woo explained on conference
that Wei used the violence to depict the "original Seediq culture and
history," and Wei said the war in the movie seeks only dignity,
freedom and death. Wei said that his shots of cruelty is to remind
people. Later comments by Taiwanese and Chinese reports involved
Voice of America
Voice of America reported that Chinese media
criticized the movie for having violence over substance and Taiwanese
media and netizens defended emotionally, and the response escalated
the hostility. Chen Weizhi, a lecturer, said that the director was
responsible if the Chinese reporters misunderstood the film. Chen also
noted that the controversy was politicized. Chen and Ifeng.com both
commented that the film may suffer from a Chinese nationalist attitude
to demonize Japanese with stereotypes like other Chinese epics.
Jiang Zhileng of
China Times responded that the criticism from
mainland media only increased mainland Chinese netizens' interest.
Jiang noted that a netizen said the movie would be associated with
conflicts in Tibet and Xinjiang if it is screened in China.
Justin Chang of Variety describes the film as a "wildly ambitious
rumble-in-the-jungle battle epic arrives bearing so heavy a burden of
industry expectations, one wishes the results were less kitschy and
more coherent", but "still, the filmmaking has a raw physicality and
crazy conviction it's hard not to admire." Chang also writes "In
terms of recent epic cinema, the primitive warfare in Warriors of the
Rainbow recalls that of Apocalypto, minus Mel Gibson's sense of pacing
and technique" and the "chaotic combo of hard-slamming edits, gory
mayhem and Ricky Ho's forever-hemorrhaging score makes the picture
simply exhausting to watch over the long haul." On the positive
aspects, Chang noted "there's an impressive degree of variation and
anthropological detail in the weaponry and fighting techniques, from
the numerous implied decapitations (the Seediq's chief m.o.) to the
guerrilla assaults in the tropical terrain they know so well."
Chang however criticized the film's use of special effects as
"generally substandard throughout" and writes the "occasional shots of
CGI rainbows -- that title is unfortunately literal -- send the film
momentarily spiraling into camp."
The film pits native ferocity (rarely have I seen a film with so many
beheadings) and scenes of more peaceful, communal living (the eerily
beautiful Seediq songs, part of the tribe's ancestral storytelling,
are spellbinding) against this historical event little-known in the
—Marc Savlov, writing for The Austin Chronicle
Deborah Young of
The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter describes the film as
"stunning to look at, authentic to a fault and a little tedious to
follow", and praised the action set pieces as "spectacular, almost
non-stop sequence of grisly hand-to-hand combat scenes" and "No
martial arts here, but skillfully realistic fighting with spears and
machetes, guns and cannons, which spare no one." However Young also
states that "no matter how ingeniously it is varied, the non-stop
fighting becomes oppressive in the long run" and the film's best
scenes are in its "quieter moments". Alan Harris gave the film
three out of five stars and states "This is an extremely bloodthirsty
film, with more beheadings than any other movie I can name, and scenes
of carnage for most of its two and a half hour running time."
However Harris states "The story does not like complexity – the
Japanese are almost universally portrayed as strutting hiss-boo
villains or as hapless cannon fodder." Stephen Holden of New York
Times criticizes the film: "the pacing . . . is clumsy, its battle
scenes chaotic and its computer effects (especially of a fire that
ravages the Seediq hunting forest) cheesy".
Later the film screened in China with another international version.
Zheng Zhaokui (郑照魁) from
Nanfang Daily compared this version to
the complete version and commented that it is short on Seediq culture
thus loses the depth. Zheng also noted that audience found the suicide
of Seediq women heavy.
Much attention is paid to the epic-film style, investment, and box
office of the film, as Wei's last film Cape No.7 and this film were
viewed as signs of revival of Taiwanese film industry.
Beijing based film critic Yuwen Ge noted that contrary to the belief
that the movie is supported by "nostalgia" of Taiwanese audience, he
saw that many people are unfamiliar with this history, and wish to
"catch up", so the support in fact comes from an awakening local
identity. He pointed out that the film follows the anti-colonial
formula, but takes a neutral stance. He feels that
Mona Rudao is not
glorified, and the Seediq killing is depicted as guilty and demonic,
and the Japanese as victims. But he then comments that this is not a
simple "pro-Japanese" attitude which many believe Taiwanese hold, but
a result of a post-colonial culture. Yuwen raised the issue of
identity, and argued that Hanaoka Ichiro and Jiro are used to Japanese
lifestyle but cannot blend into Japanese society. Yuwen argued that
the character is an allegory of ex-colonial people, who are used to
advanced civilization, refuse to return to the backward native
culture, and don't know where to go. Yuwen mentioned that the new
generation of Taiwanese identify with China less, and Yuwen further
argues that Hanaoka Ichiro is "projection of contemporary Taiwanese's
Chinese media reports lamented the marketing failure of the film in
China and its implication to Chinese speaking films. Noted failures
include the short and insincere promotion, the 2012 April release
clashed with blockbuster The Avengers and others, and the widespread
idea that the 2.5 hours "International Version" is censored and
Film critic Li Jian who said the Part 2 is too simplified and the
ambivalent and interesting characters ended hastily. Li said the most
important theme is the comparison between civilization and barbarism.
Li compared the headhunting in the beginning to Mel Gibson's
Apocalypto, and suggested a paradox: Do the Japanese colonizers bring
civilization to Seediqs and end their cruel barbarism, or do Seediqs
have their ground of civilization, and the Japanese civilization has
gone the wrong way? Li referred to different waves of colonialism in
history, and argued that "freedom is the core of civilization." Li
suggested that both
Mona Rudao and Kamada share the consensus that the
Japanese oppression is not civilized. However Li also suggested that
the issue of Seediq women's freedom is neglected in the movie.
There were controversies about the accuracy of the film's
representation of history and aboriginal culture. Dakis Pawan (a
Seediq man, also known as Kuo Ming-cheng), the film's consultant,
published a book that recognizes the efforts of the filming crew and
their needs for dramatization, and that lists many deviations of the
film from his studies of history . The final attack to take
back Mahebu village, for example, is fictional. Dakis Pawan also
traced the origin of the story of some Seediq boys, on which the
characters of Pawan Nawi and his group of boys were based, to a memoir
of an elder, and then expressed his doubts on the existence of these
The film's view on aboriginal individuals and groups were
controversial. After the film's release, Apple Daily reported that an
Atayal elder said that a year before
Wushe Incident there was Qingshan
Incident, in which
Mona Rudao cooperated with Japanese and attacked
his village. The elder "said
Mona Rudao was not a hero as described in
the movie but a brutal man who killed 26 women, children and old
people in the attack." Walis Pelin, a former lawmaker, and Chiu
Hung-shui, a chairman of a local organization from Nantou, confirmed
the elder's story, and added that
Mona Rudao was forced under the
Japanese policy of "using barbarians against barbarians." However
Dakis Pawan "quoted a spokeswoman for the
Mona Rudao family and the
chief's foster-daughter as saying that she had never heard of the
Ian Inkster, a professor in Taiwan, argued that the movie simplified
the role of aboriginal women during the incident, for example they are
not shown to be drinking or fighting. Inkster also argued that it
downplayed how Han Chinese settlers impacted the natives in the longer
period, and concluded that the film should not seen as a symbol of the
Taiwanese nationalism protest against China.
There were worries about that Temu Walis and Toda group's place in the
history may be simplified. In a 2011 talk show, Watan Nomin, a young
student from Toda group, said that the conflicts between the Seediq
groups is not only result of tradition, but also influenced by
Japanese policy of setting up "frontier guard line" (隘勇線) in the
On a forum conference, Watan, a TV reporter from Toda group,
criticized the movie for not describing the "gaya" custom of the
people, and for its changes and mistakes of the historical details. In
addition, Watan argues that the trauma among
Seediq people is too
sensitive to be filmed, and the movie should address the aspect of
peace and reconciliation. Chenzhang Peilun (陳張培倫), a
professor, noted that people are moved by the movie but don't relate
the movie to aboriginal people's current situation.
The representation of Seediq culture is controversial. A letter to a
newspaper expressed concerns about the gore and violence depicted in
the movie may hurt the image of Aboriginal people. In a talk show,
Dakis Pawan, Shen Mingren (AKA Pawan Tanah, a school principal) and
others responded that the movie does not represent Seediq people, and
the killings has to be understood in the context of history, national
defense and Seediq custom (called "gaga"). Iwan Pering, a
translator of the film, said many details of customs and history are
incorrect, and that
Mona Rudao was unlikely to have invaded other
group's territory and take the game, since it was forbidden by the
rules of his group. Dakis Pawan also said in his book that Seediq
rules were strict and group-centered, therefore
Seediq people were
unlikely to act as freely and self-centered as in the film. In
Mona Rudao was unlikely to feud with Temu Walis in the way
shown in the film.
The film was shown in competition at the 68th Venice International
Film Festival and was selected as a contender for nomination for the
84th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film in 2011
and was one of nine films shortlisted to advance to the next round of
voting for nomination.
At the 2011 Golden Horse Awards, the film won Best Feature Film and
Audience Choice Award,
Bokeh Kosang (Hsu Yi-fan) won Best Supporting
Actor, Ricky Ho won Best Original Film Score, Tu Du-chih, Tang
Hsiang-chu, and Wu Shu-yao won Best Sound Effects. Wong Wei-liu, the
key grip, won Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year.
Taiwan under Japanese rule
^ Part of Taiwanese sources: NT$ 700 million (US$ 23 million),
Discovery Channel -
Taiwan Revealed - Cinema Formosa: US$ 25 million
(NT$ 750 million).
^ a b c d e Polly Peng (Sep 2011). tr. by Geof Aberhart. "Fighting the
Good Fight: The Bloody Battleground of Seediq Bale".
046–054. Retrieved 2012-02-28. Although NT$130 million of Seediq
Bale's NT$700-million budget was covered by a strategic grant from the
Government Information Office, finding the rest was no small challenge
^ a b (Chinese)楊景婷[Yang
^ a b "Academy Releases Foreign-Language Oscar List". The Hollywood
Reporter. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-14.
^ a b "'Seediq Bale' to vie for Oscars' best foreign film".
focustaiwan. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
^ a b "63 Countries Vie for 2011 Foreign Language Film Oscar".
oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-14.
^ a b "9 Foreign Language Films Vie for Oscar". oscars.org. 18 January
2012. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
Taiwan buzzing before release of ‘Warriors’ epic
^ 'Seediq Bale' depicts Taiwanese natives' fight for dignity
^ darryl (January 4, 2012). "Subjective, objective and indigenous
history: Seediq Bale's take on the Wushe Incident". Savage
^ (Chinese) 愛鋼鍊的洛洛。賽德克巴萊之荷歌社頭目
^ a b c d Plan and interview: Watan. Camrea and editing: Fei Li'an
(2011-09-30). "太陽旗下的傷痕" [Trauma Under The Sun Flag].
TITV News Magazine. Episode 679.
^ a b 果子電影公司 (2011). 電影·巴萊.
^ a b (Chinese blog)
^ 家明 [Kaming] (2011-09-25). 魏德聖訪問
帶根帶土的藝文故事. Ming Pao(明報) (in Chinese). Retrieved
^ a b c Teng Sue-feng (Feb 2009). tr. by Christopher J. Findler.
"Biggest Production in
Taiwan Film History-Seediq Bale". Taiwan
Panorama. Retrieved 2012-02-28. [The Chinese version is more
^ 項貽斐 [Hsiang Yi-fei] (2003-11-25). 魏德聖 籌拍
「賽德克巴萊」5分鐘樣帶花 250萬 盼募
United Daily News
United Daily News (UDN Database. Restricted
access) (in Chinese). p. D4.
^ a b Lan Tzu-wei (Sep 4, 2011). "INTERVIEW:'Director's charisma
turned film dream into reality". Taipei Times. trans. Jake Chung. Tu
Duu-chih (杜篤之), the recording artist of the film, was
interviewed. p. 2. Retrieved 2012-02-28.
^ a b 藍祖蔚[Lan Tzu-wei, tonyblue] (2008-09-14).
海角七號：專訪魏德聖. 藍色電影夢 (in Chinese).
Wei Te-sheng (2008-06-25).
Chinese). 《海角七號》電影官方部落格. Retrieved
2011-02-22檢索. Check date values in: access-date= (help)
^ 曹玉玲 (2004-02-15). 「賽德克巴萊」 沒有2億不拍.
Liberty Times (in Chinese). Retrieved 2011-02-28. In February,
2004, Wei told a reporter that a friend had put the short film on
Internet, which attracted supports. Wei insisted his budget to be NTD
200 million, and said that he began to accept small donations. Wei
also promised that if the film is made, the income will be shared with
all donors, and that the share is in proportion to the donation.
However Wei also said that if the film is not made, the donation will
not be returned and will be given to aboriginal groups. Wei said the
plan is endorsed and supervised by bank and film critic Wen
^ There are two estimations of the goal of the earlier fund raise.
Earlier reports say the goal of the earlier fund raise is USD 7
million (NTD 200 to 250 million). But when interviewed by Lan Tzu-wei
in 2008, (after the success of Cape No. 7), Wei said that he borrowed
NTD 2 million to make the short film, and his goal was to raise USD 10
million (NTD 300 million), which may have scared investors away. See
Lan, 2008. There are also less accurate sources written after the 2011
release saying the goal is NTD 70 million. There are also two
estimations of cost of the five-minute film. According to Peng, "in
2003 Wei spent NT$2 million shooting a five-minute trailer." This is
also the estimation from Lan Tzu-wei's two interviews with Tu and with
Wei. However the 2011-09-14 report from Apple Daily and 2003-11-25
United Daily News
United Daily News say the cost is 2.5 million.
^ Deborah Kuo / CNA, WITH STAFF WRITER (Nov 28, 2008). "FILM REVIEW:
Art designer aims high with ambitious film plan". Taipei Times.
p. 17. (This article also briefly introduces Chiu)
^ "Director drafts Aboriginal servicemen for new film". Taipei Times.
2009-05-07. Retrieved 2012-02-28.
^ According to Culture.tw, a website funded by Council for Cultural
Affairs, the budget was 700 million and the grant from GIO was 160
million. See "Seediq Bale is
Taiwan director Wei's dream project".
2010-09-10. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
^ a b 宇若霏、尤燕祺 [Yu and You] (2008-09-14).
賽德克．巴萊 凱道首映 魏德聖惹哭馬英九 [Seediq Bale
Apple Daily (Taiwan)
Apple Daily (Taiwan) (in Chinese). Retrieved
^ "Famed film designer discusses upcoming epic". Taipei Times.
2011-07-14. Retrieved 2011-02-29. Check date values in:
^ "Set from 'Seediq Bale' in Linkou will open to public". Taipei
Times. 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2011-02-29. Check date values in:
^ a b "The epic Seediq". Global Times. 2012-05-07.
^ Loa Iok-sin (2010-09-06). "Filming of Sediq resistance epic
completed". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2011-02-29. Check date
values in: access-date= (help)
^ "Seediq uprising epic to hit theaters this fall: Wei Te-sheng".
Taipei Times. 2011-01-31. Retrieved 2011-02-29. Check date
values in: access-date= (help)
^ (English) Crew. (Chinese) 賽德克巴萊幕後英雄. The official
website. Accessed 2012-11-29. The official promo website provides only
Chinese characters of names. The Romanization and Hangul characters
may not be correct.
^ a b Deborah Young (Sep 1, 2011). "Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq
Bale: Venice Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
^ 張菫宸 (2011-07-30).
要求威尼斯影展更正 (in Chinese). 自由電子報. Retrieved
2011-09-04查閱. Check date values in: access-date= (help)
^ a b 黄耀毅 (2011-09-04).
中国媒体猛批臺湾电影《赛德克巴莱》 (in Chinese).
Voice of America. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
^ (Chinese) 《賽德克•巴萊》定檔5月10日
上映154分鐘國際版. 新京報. 2012-04-17.
^ a b Stephen Holden (April 26, 2012). "Machismo, Obtained via
Machete". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
^ Chen Nan (2012-05-07). "Epic War Flim "Seediq Bale" Premieres in
Beijing". Chinese Films.
^ 《赛德克•巴莱》首映 陈国富：有灵魂的大片. Sohu
(in Chinese). 2012-05-07.
^ a b Zheng Zhaokui (郑照魁) (2012-05-08).
Nanfang Daily (in Chinese).
^ Dae-Guen Lim (2016-09). "Korean Audiences' Attitude toward Wei
Te-sheng Films". Chung-Wai Literary Quarterly. 45 (3).
doi:10.6637/CWLQ.2016.45(3).205-209. Check date values in:
Taiwan blockbuster: Blood-stained rainbow". The Economist.
September 17, 2011.
^ Mead, Walter Russell (September 17, 2011). "Taiwanese Film Stirs
Romantic Nationalism". Via Meadia.
^ 陳文[Chen Wen].
(in Chinese). 新闻晨报.
^ 江芷稜 [Jiang Zhileng] (2011-09-07). 《賽德克》反動思想
中國網友好想看. 中國時報 (in Chinese). Retrieved
^ a b c d Justin Chang (Sep 1, 2011). "Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq
^ Savlov, Marc (27 April 2012). Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale.
The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-11-27.
^ a b Alan Harris (16 September 2011). "Warriors of the Rainbow:
Seediq Bale (2011)". Glued to the Seat.
^ 宇文翮 [Yuwen Ge] (2011-12-03).
"后殖民主义视域下的《赛德克•巴莱》[Seediq Bale in
^ "《賽德克-巴萊》的困惑". 北京晚報. 2012-05-16.
^ 李简 [Li Jian] (2012-05-29). "自由，才是文明的核心
[Freedom is the Core of Civilization]". 南都周刊 [Southern
^ a b (Chinese blog)
^ (Chinese blog)
^ 郭睿誠, 李陳信得, 陳方瑩 (2011-09-12).
屠村殺26婦孺「莫那魯道不是英雄」. Apple Daily (Taiwan)
(in Chinese). Retrieved 2012-11-21. CS1 maint: Multiple names:
authors list (link) The Apple Daily Chinese report was cited by
English news: "Seediq controversy highlights that life isn't black and
white". China Post. 2011-09-14. Retrieved 2012-04-03. Chen
Ching-ping & C.J. Lin (2011-09-14). "Seediq Bale hero Mona Rudao's
controversial past". Central News Agency (Republic of China).
^ Ian Inkster (2012-03-08), ‘Seediq Bale’ and pride in Taiwan,
^ a b Host: Isuth Balinzinan. Guests: Shen Mingren, Iwan Pering, Dakis
Pawan, Watan Nomin (2011-09-17).
"『賽德克‧巴萊』族人怎麼看？" ["Seediq Bale": How do
indigenous people see it?]. Indigenous Voice. Episode Episode 175 (in
Taiwan Indigenous Television.
^ For Frontier Guards (Aiyong), see Wu Micha. "Frontier Guard Line".
Encyclopedia of Taiwan. Retrieved 2012-11-22. In the early Japanese
Colonial Period, the
Taiwan Governor-General's Office enacted measures
to control the aborigines by isolating them. Chang Suping.
"Frontier Guard Line". Encyclopedia of Taiwan. Retrieved
^ 娃丹，陳張培倫。第 91 場
^ 蔡錦雲[Cai Jinyun] (2011-09-16). 「賽德克」血腥殺戮
United Daily News
United Daily News (in Chinese).
^ Host: Pisuy Masou. Guests: Dakis Pawan, Pawan Tanah (Shen Mingren),
Pusi Nowmaw (Yang Shengtu), Yubas Watan (2011-09-24).
["Seediq Bale" the movie, Utux the belief of ancestral spirit, Gaya
and headhunting]. Indigenous Voice. Episode Episode 176 (in Chinese).
Taiwan Indigenous Television.
Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale I on IMDb
Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale II on IMDb
Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale at Rotten Tomatoes
Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale at Metacritic
Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale at AllRovi
Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale at Box Office Mojo
Golden Horse Award for Best Feature Film
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