A disturbing close portrait of a young man who, like all other men in Taiwan, must enlist in the army. Dreaming of saving enough money to enter an Australian art college after having been discharged, he is gradually crushed by the corruption, the verbal violence, and the hypocrisy that festers in the military hierarchy.
Our President Li Teng-hui in Taiwan once said, "I am in control of everything but the military."
Confronted with criticism when unaccountable accidents and deaths in the Taiwanese military came to light, Minister of Defense Chiang boasted, "Deaths and injuries are everywhere in Taiwan. Who cares about one death in the army?"
In Taiwan, the constitution states that every man is required to serve in the army for a period of two years. But the dark and isolated world of the military has become a nightmare for all Taiwanese mothers. Though it is already more than 50 years since the Nationalist Party (KMT) retreated to Taiwan from the Mainland, it continues to uphold the system of compulsory military service. This is done in order to maintain its political power. Each year it sends two hundred thousand young lives into the hands of a system that designates "steel cup handle on the right, toothpaste on the left." Their lives are frozen in time as two years of their youth is wasted counting down the remaining days in service, and only when the countdown reaches zero does their real life begin. Yes, let me start the shooting, let's have a real look at what's going on in our army, in the young soldiers' hearts! As I continued filming, suddenly I remembered the grimness hidden in Minister of Defense Chiang's remark: "Deaths and injuries are everywhere in Taiwan..." I started to shiver.
2000 Visions du Réel - Regards Neufs Etat de Vaud
2000 Taiwan International Documentary Festival - Public Television Services Award
2000 Golden Harvest Awards - Special Mention
1999 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival - Special Mention for NETPAC Award
1999 Taipei Film Festival