150m version. Epic, bloodthirsty, mesmerizing and larger than life tale plunging us into 30's Taiwan when the Seediq warriors rebelled against the Japanese after twenty five years of rule. Like one long take of carnage that one eventually finds one becoming numb to it. Look forward to seeing the 5 hour plus cut at some point. A history lesson one doesn't learn in schools. Lin Ching-Tai amazing as clan leader.
When a historical epic starts without an establishing shot (and hardly has any for 4+ hours), you know you're in trouble. This is an honest attempt to cram all known historically-accurate events into a film, but there is no space left for the "film" part of the equation. Geography is non-existant, wasting the gorgeous locations. Endless questions: Wait, who are these guys again and where did this new gang come from?
On one hand, condensing two films into one makes the abbreviated version feel chaotic and at times incoherent, a feeling that is heightened by the choppy editing. At the same time, I saw enough here in the shortened cut that I don't think I'd want to experience two full-length films of this story. "Seediq Bale" makes humanity seem like a futile effort - a nonstop montage of war, suicide, beheadings, and slaughter.
Well intentioned and earnest epic tells the little known tale of Taiwan's aboriginal Seediq tribe that revolted against Japanese rule in 1930, resulting in a bloody, 50 day battle and nearly annihilated the entire tribe. Features some striking imagery and some undeniably stirring moments, but is hampered by a weak script and an overlong, awkward structure.