2016, 65 minutes, Taiwan and Papua New Guinea
Directed by Futuru Tsai 蔡政良
Mandarin, Japanese, Taiwanese and English with English subtitles
The Amis tribe of east coast Taiwan have a traditional belief that the spirits of their dead return home by adopting the wings of a bird. During World War II, many indigenous Taiwanese lost their lives fighting for Japan in the Pacific, and their spirits often struggled to return. The Wings of the Takasago Giyutai, the latest documentary by anthropologist and filmmaker Futuru Tsai, follows the descendants of some of these soldiers as they help spirits find their way home. Tsai accompanies the group to Papua New Guinea to document this exceptional spiritual journey.
The screening will be followed by a short informal discussion with CHL PhD student Suliljaw Lusausatj. Suliljaw Lusausatj is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific. Being indigenous Taiwan (Paiwan), he is interested in the Austronesian cultures among Oceaniana Peoples. Inspired by the concept of ‘our sea of islands’ from Epeli Hau’ofa, his upcoming fieldwork will be exploring tattooing and other forms of material cultures in the societies of eastern Paiwan (Taiwan) and Samoa, and understanding how indigenous self-identities are constructed and transformed by wearing diverse tattooing motifs. Suliljaw views this as carrying a sense of identity amongst the indigenous diaspora and a process of becoming indigenous. With this approach, he echoes the developing theories of indigeneity that are intertwined with articulation, performance and translation.
This film is part of Asia and the Pacific Screens Season Seven: Polyphonic Asia, presented by the Australian Centre on China in the World.