I’ve wanted to write about this film since the end of January but every time I started writing about it, I either couldn’t come up with a good way to put it or just didn’t feel like continuing it. It seldom happens to me like that. Guess there are too many ideas for this film to be jotted down in a neat way or I simply lost the ability of writing temporarily when it came to this particular film ^^!.
Kano, meaning Jianong (Chia-yi Agricultural and Forestry Vocational School) in Japanese, is a movie about a group of Taiwanese amateur baseball players competing in Japanese Championship Series in 1931 during the Japanese Colonial Rule Era. The Taiwanese team trained by a tough Japanese coach consisted of Japanese, Han Chinese and Aboriginal players. The “never give up” attitude climaxes the film when Kano garnered the respect of some 55,000 Japanese fans attending the championship game who found themselves cheering for a colonial team, marking a monumental moment in the history of baseball in Taiwan and serving as a metaphor for the struggles between the colony and colonizer.
Behind the scenes, a sleepy backwater town transforming into a charming pastoral heaven and meticulous research on great amount of historically accurate props, costume and large-scale settings that include the streets of 1930s Chiayi and the Japanese Championship Series Stadium are all an audio-visual feast designed to elicit viewers’ big emotions.
Kano was scheduled to open in Taiwan on February 28th, Peace day, and later in Japan and the US. However, owing to government censorship, it is unclear whether Kano would make it to theaters in China, not only because of the subject matter but also since much of the film’s dialogue is in Japanese. Nevertheless, to my surprise, there will be a preview show in UA Cinemas on March 15th & 16th~~~~
It’s worth mentioning that Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖), the producer/screenplay writer of Kano, was the director of well-acclaimed blockbusters Seediq Bale (Oscar-nominated) & Cape #7 (second highest-grossing Taiwanese box-office hit). These three movies are his trilogy that looks at Taiwan’s colonial past through different points of view.
As usual, trailers are as follows to wrap up this movie preview:
(with Chinese & English subtitles)
(interview with the producer and director, subtitled in Japanese)