After Six Years...Taiwan's First Documentary on Offshore Fishermen

After Six Years...Taiwan's First Documentary on Offshore Fishermen
Photo Credit:前景娛樂提供

What you need to know

Director Kuo believes the fishermen have dedicated themselves to their family, but emotionally they are drifting further away from home. Many people share this feeling and she hopes to convey the perseverance and love for the family through this film.

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Have you thought about the lives of fishermen? Kuo Zhen-di, director of Golden Horse Awards Best Documentary, “Viva Tonal," and new director Ke Neng-yuan have spent six years completing the film “Trapped at Sea, Lost in Time." This will be the first documentary in Taiwan that focuses on the island’s offshore fishing industry.

The documentary records the lives of offshore fishing crews and hopes to let people understand the difficulties and toil of the industry.

The reason the two directors filmed “Trapped at Sea, Lost in Time" was to depict the majority of the working class in Taiwan, especially those who need to work long hours to make a living. Those working in the offshore fishing industry often fall into estrangement with their families.

Lack of family life is almost a shared experience among the working class. The film records the crew on board for three years, and after many of them return home, their children don’t recognize them anymore.

In the film, a fisherman Ye Jun-fu, who isn’t yet 30 years old, was asked how does he dates if he has to go out to the sea. He says that to be a fisherman’s girlfriend, one has to be really independent. As for the fishermen themselves, they need to learn how to handle pressure, either from not catching enough fish or mental stress. Ye says, although he is still young, he wants to learn more and pass down the experience and knowledge to the next generation.

China Times reports, director Kuo thinks that offshore fishing has supported the enormous economic chain, but people rarely understand the difficulties and toils behind the industry, so she decided to make this documentary.

She believes the fishermen have dedicated themselves to their family, but emotionally they are drifting further away from home. Many people share this feeling and she hopes to convey the perseverance and love for the family through this film.

On September 22, the documentary premiered at Cianjhen Fishing Port in Kaoshiung, and Vice Mayor of Kaohsiung Xu Li-ming said that the Taiwanese men from Cianjhen Fishing Port catch half of the world’s tuna. He also said that Kaohsiung is an ocean city with busy ports and a special fishing culture. These things have been deeply rooted in many people’s memories and have supported many families.

Translated by Vic Chiang
Edited by Olivia Yang

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