Finish year

Chen Tsi-gen and His Neighbors

Director :
Year :


  • Taiwan
Color :
Running Time :
90 min
  • Politics
  • History
  • Society
  • Human Interest


This film presents the lives of seven old men who crossed over to Taiwan from the mainland with the Nationalist Army. Now living in shanty huts scheduled to become part of a redevelopment block, they are visited by Wu Yii-feng (Moon Children was screened at YIDFF 91). Through casual and open interviews conducted over a period of time, the filmmaker reveals each old man's life story, how the war twisted their fates, and hidden yearnings for their lost connection with the mainland.

Source: YIDFF

Director Statement

Over the course of one and a half years of filming seven old men in a disordered wooden room, I underwent some life-changing experiences that will stay in my heart forever.

Those seven old men had been caught up in the Japanese invasion of China during World War II and the Chinese civil war after it, and had come from the mainland to Taiwan. By getting close to their everyday life I was able to hear the voice of their innermost heart. I felt deeply their experiences of being forced to leave their home towns in the middle of the chaos of war, unable even to exchange farewells with their dearest friends, and unable through over 40 years of suffering and hope, to make contact. I hope that we are able to feel the cruelty of war when the old men in this documentary talk of their love for their extended families, their friends, and their lovers from days gone by, recalled with a mixture of nostalgia and resignation.

I think that to people like me, members of a generation with no experience of the war, these life experiences are both hard to endure and yet extremely valuable. I hope that many people are able to see this film and come to understand the old men's experiences.

Source: YIDFF

Festivals & Awards

1997 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival
1997 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival
1998 Margaret Mead Film Festival
1998 Margaret Mead Film Festival


  • Director
  • Script Writer
  • Editor
  • Cinematographer
  • Cinematographer
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