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Sunflower Occupation (DVD) (Taiwan Version) DVD Region 3

Cai Chong Long (Director)
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Product Title: Sunflower Occupation (DVD) (Taiwan Version) 太陽.不遠 (DVD) (台灣版) 太阳.不远 (DVD) (台湾版) 太陽.不遠 (DVD) (台湾版) Sunflower Occupation (DVD) (Taiwan Version)
Director: Cai Chong Long 蔡崇隆 蔡崇隆 Cai Chong Long Cai Chong Long
Release Date: 2015-04-15
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Country of Origin: Taiwan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Duration: 120 (mins)
Publisher: SKY Digi Entertainment Co.,
Package Weight: 110 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1039231084

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Editor's Pick of "Sunflower Occupation (DVD) (Taiwan Version)"

Picked By Frood
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July 27, 2015

A generation speaks up
In September 2014, the world’s media descended onto Hong Kong to cover what is now known as the Umbrella Movement. The densely populated but geographically tiny city, barely visible on a standard world map, played host to the world’s foremost news organizations, which breathlessly covered the student-led civil disobedience movement that cried out for democracy. It may come as a surprise to some that mere months before the Umbrella Movement, a remarkably (one could even say eerily) similar movement was mounted by Taiwanese students. The Sunflower Movement, which began on March 18, 2014, and lasted 23 days, did not attract the rapt attention of the world’s media. But it should have. As the documentary Sunflower Occupation shows, the movement is a watershed moment for Taiwan, for democracy in East Asia and most of all, for the island’s youth.

The seeds of the Occupation were sown when Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party, the more pro-China of the island’s two major political parties, tried to pass a controversial trade agreement with China without following the previously agreed-upon due process. It had earlier been agreed that 16 public hearings would be held to discuss the details of the agreement, but after 8 hastily put-together (and rather exclusionary) meetings held over a week, KMT declared that there could be no changes to the agreement. The Occupation erupted a day later, with a large group of students, along with some NGO representatives and academics, entering the legislative building after hours. Feeling that the democratic process had been undermined in the adoption of the trade agreement, the occupying group demanded further debate and review. Soon, protesters inside the legislature were joined by youths who congregated on the streets surrounding the building. Just short of a month later, KMT announced a postponement on the passage of the trade agreement pending further legislation governing all cross-strait agreements.

Sunflower Occupation, whose poignant Chinese title translates to “The Sun, Not Far,” is a crowdfunded documentary with contributions from nine directors. As a film, it is chaotic. With nine directors who each has his or her own story to tell, it is inevitable that the film would lack a clear narrative arc. However, Sunflower Occupation is not aiming to present a Ken Burns-style overarching history of the Occupation. It aims to give audiences a glimpse into one very specific moment in time, and explore how that moment is viewed by and affects its disparate participants. Its inherent chaos mirrors, to a degree, the chaos of the Occupation itself, a massive, dizzying, exhilarating undertaking unlike any that most of its participants had seen in their lifetimes.

The nine directors each has a different angle from which to examine the Occupation, showing viewers that though mainstream media favors molding conflicts into uncomplicated, straightforward narratives, reality rarely works out that way. For every major story, there are multitudes of other stories lying just beneath the surface. One director follows Chen Wei Ting, a student who emerged as one of the movement’s leaders almost by accident. Another explores the movement’s relationship to the Wild Lily Movement of 1990, in which Taiwanese students protested over six days to push for an end to single-party rule. Another examines accusations of police brutality in clashes between police and protesters. Another follows an NGO member who worried that she was encroaching on the students’ movement by participating. Yet another reveals the emotional toll on youngsters who joined the protest against the staunch opposition of their parents.

Many politicians, particularly in Asia, frequently speak about young people, but rarely do they speak with them. The Sunflower Movement, more than anything, was the demand of a whole generation to be heard. With the Occupation, the young of Taiwan staked their claim on a place in society. It was a glorious, historic, beautifully chaotic moment in time for Taiwan and young people everywhere. It’s a good thing, then, that it’s been captured in Sunflower Occupation.

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