Hakka documentary coming soon to Taiwan next year

Filmed in a Hakka settlement by director Yang Li-chou (楊力州), a documentary titled Love Without Clutching, Leave Without Guilt (愛別離苦) was screened at Longtan Branch Taoyuan Public Library and Taipei Huashan Spot Theater on Dec. 15 and 20, respectively. Residents on Longtan’s Lingtan Street, where the film was shot, cultural figures, and members of Hakka associations were invited to attend the movie screening event.

Invited by Hakka Affairs Council (HAC) to be an artist-in-residence in Taoyuan’s Hakka settlement in 2019, Yang focused his camera on Lingtan Street—a street that cannot be found on the map—in Taoyuan’s Longtan District. There he found heart-touching stories about the life of ordinary people who live on this street. With in-depth interviews, Yang deconstructed these people’s emotional defenses by gently dealing with their mental scars through his lens, presenting these strong-willed women’s portraits in this documentary.

The film was well received by the audience after it premiered at Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, and its commercial screening is scheduled for March 2021.

To help rediscover and shape the local culture, HAC has invited many artists to create their artworks to present the charm of Hakka settlements on Taiwan Romantic Route 3 in northern Taiwan. Apart from director Yang, other artists have been invited to the Hakka region in recent years, including musician Matthew Lien, who released his album “The Romantic Route 3 - Hakka Music Map of Matthew Lien” based on his experience in Hakka villages; and 22 photographers at home and abroad whose snapshots of the Hakka romantic road were displayed at an outdoor exhibition.

Through various kinds of artworks by artists in different fields, Hakka culture on Taiwan Romantic Route 3 is diversely presented and greatly enriched. HAC will continue to promote artist-in-residence programs, helping to present the Hakka renaissance with art.