NYAFF 2012
New York Asian Film Festival

June 29 - July 15
Lincoln Center - Japan Society


Taiwan, 2011
274 minutes, in Mandarin, Japanese, and Seediq with English subtitles
Directed by: Wei Te-Sheng

Epic, historical, mammoth, SEEDIQ BALE is Taiwan's biggest, most expensive
blockbuster ever, the uncut 4 1/2 hour megaflick, produced by John Woo.

Mouna Rudo is the young warrior whom Warriors of the Rainbow follows, and he starts lopping off heads
of the rival tribesmen just a few minutes into the movie. The Seediq aborigines live with violence, guarding their hunting ground,
and the Seediq Bale is the real Seediq, the real man, who has bloodstains on this hands that can never be wiped clean.
These are the signs his ancestors will see when he opens his hands, so he can walk the rainbow with his
ancestral warrior kin.

the Seediq fight till the death...
fight Mouna Rudo
Mouna Rudo carries on and on...
carry on my wayward Rudo!
Seediq in action on land and stream...
kick ass Mouna Rudo!

Warriors of the Rainbow depicts the events leading up to the 1930s Wushe Incident and the tribal Taiwanese
struggle for independence from Japan, a kind of Last of the Mohicans, never-ending battles, bloodshed and lost heads.


warriors come out to play and decapitate

the japanese: badass general, sweet officer and seediq turned cop

no hope for the women of the rainbow

The film is heavy on ancestral lore, and what is means to be a Seediq Bale, from the young kids whose immediate
ascent into manhood involves killing the Japanese and getting tattoos to commemorate their first beheading,
to the main character's meeting his dead father and singing his native song with him,
sung beautifully, as ghost dad walks into the water's rainbow.

Temu Walis never gives up
jungle fever
stand and fight like a machete-wielding man

Aside from the Japanese, Mouna Rudo must contend with tribal rivals, led by the young man Temu Walis
who told Mouna he would cut his head off when he grows up, to which Rudo boy retorts:
"you will never grow up". Vicious, fighting words to live and die by!! Vengeance!

heads up or heads off... let the massacre begin
Hide and Seediqs
Japan vs Taiwan in the Seediq Olympics - 300 vs 3000 strong

The film takes a 20-year turn once the Japanese roll in, and the Seediqs and the other dozen or so
tribes have either joined the newly-formed society, or are forced laborers and farmers.

An older, wiser Mouna Ruda smokes and contemplates the Japanese, and his place in the new world.
Will his tribe put up with the bullsh*t, or offer blood sacrifice to join their ancestral Warriors of the Rainbow?

Mouna Rudo shares tales and alcohol
the young man as fleet-footed warrior
Mouna Rudo leads the massacre... no sleep till Rainbow!

"Children! On the tip of the Rainbow Bridge led to home of our ancestor's spirits, there is another beautiful hunting range.
Our ancestors are all there! Remember, only brave spirits can enter this place, and we can never lose it.
My fellows, let us hunt the heads of our enemies, and we wash our spirits with blood
so that we walk the Rainbow Bridge to be always with our ancestors."

Eventually the Seediq rise up against the Japanese and an all-out massacre ensues, led by the elder Mouna Rudo,
who hasn't lost a step in his massive calves, and decapitating machete.

Part 2 of Warriors of the Rainbow deals with the aftermath of the massacre, and the Japanese infiltrating
the jungle to wipe out the Seediqs by any means, including cannons, air attack and gas bombs.

Like an indigenous Braveheart meets "300" the Seediq use the jungle to ambush and hold off
the 3000 troops, but eventually like all good rainbows, a new dawn fades...

Quite an excellent film, and despite it's length, there is enough action and ingenuity
to keep one's interest to root for the Seediq Bale to overcome and conquer.

Alas history has been written, and this visual narrative is an amazing recounting
of a people most folks knew nothing about, with phenomenal acting by a group
of unknowns, in a remarkable setting, replete with lush landscape and musical score.

Four Stars!

review by Jefe aka Johnny Chiba

more SEEDIQ BALE reviews


screenings at
Film Society of Lincoln Center

Wednesday, July 4 @ 6pm

Jefe aka Johnny Chiba publishes

NYAFF2012 - TEST PRESS reviews

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