Taiwan Film Raises Criticism Over Aboriginal Issue

Taiwan Film Raises Criticism Over Aboriginal Issue
Photo Credit: 大尾鱸鰻
What you need to know

“David Loman 2,”directed by Chu Ke-liang, has hit NT$170 million (approximately US$ five million) at the box office. However, a scene where the actors imitate Tao aboriginals has provoked criticism for not respecting the people.

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Translated and compiled by Shin-wei Chang

Lunar New Year has always been a crucial timing for Taiwan local films to test their popularity against Hollywood films. This year, “Deadpool” has led the race, reaching up to a box office of NT$280 million (approximately US$8.4 million)

However, on February 11, a Taiwanese director Yeh Tian-lung said, “The box office of three Taiwanese local films did not even reaching one-third of a Hollywood Hero move. This is a very big warning.”

Liberty Times reports, among those Lunar New Year’s film, “David Loman 2,”directed by Chu Ke-Liang, hit NT$170 million (approximately US$ five million) at the box office on February 12. This was his fifth movie to reach beyond NT$10 million since 2011.

However, people have been criticizing the movie for some of its content.

In “David Loman 2,” there is a scene where actors imitate how the Tao Tribe, aboriginals of Orchid Island, dress and protest against nuclear waste. The characters are communicating in a language that seemed incomprehensible to the others, which is believed to be an insinuation of the Tao language. This makes the audience laugh, but Tao aboriginals have not found it amusing.

According to Taiwan Indigenous TV, what the characters mostly ramble has nothing to do with Tao language. The scene was censored on the Internet and makes Tao people feel disrespected.

Taiwan Indigenous TV interviewed residents on Orchid Island, and one of the woman said, “I don’t think there is anything funny.” In response to the scene of protesting against nuclear waste, a man said, “I have been fighting against nuclear waste for more than 30 years. I don’t think it’s funny for a comedy to include such a serious issue.”

After watching the movie, many people expressed their anger towards the scene through social media, including a legislator Kawlo・Iyun・Pacidal.

Also a aboriginal, the legislator posted an article on Facebook requesting the apology of the filmmaker. “The movie industry should not refer to aboriginal culture as a joke, and it is not suppose to spread this kind of twisted values to audience nationwide. The producer has to give their sincere apologies to the Tao Tribe and Taiwanese people, and revise relevant scenes.”

Kawlo also says, “In order to prevent speech and behavior of discrimination that affect aboriginal people, we have to propose measures to deal with it. We can make our next generation truly respect various cultures in Taiwan through drafting relevant laws.”

In response to the criticisms, Chiu Li-kwan, the director of the movie, expressed her regret for offending the aboriginals. She clarifies, “If there is something we fail to cover, we will humbly reflect on our mistakes.” However, Chiu suspects the proposal of a law could harm creative freedom.

At the end of her statement, she adds, “I have always believed ‘if know you how to laugh, you won’t hate.’ There can be different opinions of a movie, but the society cannot be stirred itself. We are never enemies.”

However, Yu Kan-ping, another local film director, also criticizes Chiu for not dealing with the issue appropriately. Having being concerned about aboriginal issues for a long time, Yu says on social media, “The producer should spend time to understand this issue so it can be presented in a better way.”

Edited by Olivia Yang

Sources:
Taiwan Indigenous TV
Apple Daily
Liberty Times
Liberty Times