跳舞時代 Viva Tonal – The Dance Age

The emergence of a local recording industry, dance halls, pop-stars under the shadow of Japanese occupation makes 跳舞時代 Viva Tonal – The Dance Age something of a Buena Vista Social Club in Taiwan. Director 簡偉斯Chien Wei-ssu and 郭珍弟 Kuo Chen-ti ransacked the back-catalogue of musicologist Lee Kun-cheng 李坤城 to win the 2003 Taipei Golden Horse Award for Best Documentary currently having a screening at the President Theatre in Ximending.

The typical story presented in documentary films of people under colonial rule focuses on their tragic lives or their stifled outcries of oppression. A departure from this model, VIVA TONAL- THE DANCE AGE goes beyond the dichotomy of the rulers and the ruled. Opening with a Taiwanese-language popular song, it returns to the scene of history with Ai-ai(愛愛), a grandmother and former mega pop star. In early twentieth-century Taiwan, under Japanese colonial rule, young men and women moved to the rhythms of Western and Japanese music, dancing the waltz and foxtrot as they yearned for a fresh new world and free love. Against a soundtrack featuring rare original records from this era, the documentary film VIVA TONAL- THE DANCE AGE recaptures the era’s atmosphere of innovation and dreams…