14 Pages

Introduction: Cinema Taiwan, a civilizing mission?


The tale of a righteous man, Wu Feng, runs like this: an eighteenth century Han Chinese official, Wu Feng administered the mountainous interior of Taiwan, minding its inhabitants. Generations of Taiwanese schoolchildren learned of him as a model of sacrifice, since he offered his own life in exchange for a group of settlers abducted by aboriginal headhunters. The tribesmen, accustomed to taking Chinese (and later Japanese) heads for ritual uses, were persuaded to stop. Somehow Wu Feng made them promise to give up their savage practices, but he paid the ultimate price.1