62 Years and 6,500 Miles Between

52 mins  16mm  color  2005  Mandarin/Minnanese/English
Available versions: 1) 52-min. English dubbed, 2) 52-min. English subs, 3) 48-min. English/ Chinese subs (Taiwan broadcast version)

ORIGINAL MUSIC: Huang Wan-Ting & Huang Yi-Jin

A co-production with Taiwan Public Television Service

Amidst the political upheavals of a nation and the world, the filmmaker navigates cultural, geographical and linguistic distances in search of wisdom and hope from her 100 year-old Taiwanese activist grandmother (Ama).


Artist Statement
The film explores the discovery of my grandmother’s political sensibility just prior to her entering a full-care facility through the intimate details remembered by those closely associated with her, her award-winning autobiographical essay which was published in 1994 by the Taipei Women’s Rights Organization, and my own memories. As the film progresses, we hear history being told from various perspectives. Eventually, twists and turns develop along the way – the expectation that the camera is a reliable witness, or that the translation is accurate, the many facts that Ama left out of her biography, or that the biography was even written by Ama.

62 Years and 6,500 Miles Between reworks the documentary form with its own set of expectations, while investigating historical, social and political phenomena via the personal. This film specifically examines how a postcolonial people negotiate the memory and translation essential to the reconstruction and ultimately reclamation of a personal and national history. Translation and memory are the means by which we construct the past, yet both of these are delicate. For example, while emphasizing testimonials in light of an official history, I use images of contemporary Taiwan, instead of archival footage — reflecting how a postcolonial people can sometimes only reimagine their past. Finally, in the telling of this history perhaps the film will spark dialogue about the nonfiction canon that is deeply driven by our desire to represent history – revisted or as a moment in time; a memory – however vivid or fleeting; and truth – whether perceived or felt.


Asking her grandmother what advice she has for young people, filmmaker Anita Chang receives a simple reply: “Politics!” Despite a third stroke and a century of struggle, “Democratic Grandma” remains true to the ideals that earned her acclaim and a memorable nickname in Taiwan. However, she also knows that progress exacts a price – a realization rendered vividly and with poignant candor in Chang’s portrait of her headstrong amah. Tracing the parallel threads of her female relatives’ stories, Chang (SHE WANTS TO TALK TO YOU, SFIAAFF ’02) uncovers revelations of political persecution while focusing on the struggle to maintain – and sometimes resist – the bonds of filial traditions. A mesmerizing and provocative meditation on history-making and the post-colonial condition, this dynamic documentary intimately depicts what it means to be a part of a family, a nation, and a world in constant upheaval. – 2005 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival

If Chang’s grandmother opposed authoritarianism in politics, Chang counters the easy clichés of traditional documentary film-making in order to provide her viewers with a genuinely collaborative sense of spectatorship. Her viewers take a journey into the past with her, and follow the bloody and treacherous history of Taiwanese modernization. Chang does not offer us easy resolutions of the contradictions of her pro-democracy grandmother: instead, she is thrillingly honest about both her subject and her process. Her film is beautiful and compelling and captures brilliantly the tumultuous changes seen by Taiwanese culture and politics in the past half century. This film is critical viewing for students of contemporary Chinese and Taiwanese history, students of documentary and experimental documentary as well as feminist filmmaking. – Catherine Liu, Professor of Visual Studies, University of California at Irvine

62 Years and 6500 Miles Between is actually a road movie where time expands and fades and during changes and scrapes along the road, those roles women consider themselves to be playing are recognized and acted out realistically. In the director’s narration of the film, the “I”, hopes that the shift from conscious watching to spontaneously feeling reveals contents of movement, i.e. movements of bodies, thoughts, time and concepts. – Women Make Waves Film Festival, Taiwan

I am intrigued with the whole problem of connotation and how film can – or cannot – deal with what’s happening, what’s not there. This is one of the things I find so interesting about 62 Years and 6500 Miles Between. – Judith MacDougall, Ethnographic Filmmaker & Visiting Fellow, Australian National University

UC Berkeley Center for Southeast Asian Studies 2024 / Tamsui University, Taiwan 2024 / Hualien Railway Cinema, Taiwan 2023 / Women Make Waves Int’l Film Festival & Tour 2023 / VT Art Salon Taipei 2022 / Taiwan Documentary Film Festival in Thailand 2021 / Southeastern Taiwanese Association Conference 2019 / Docufest Kosovo 2018 / Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association 2017 / National Tsing Hua University 2014 / Taipei National U. of Arts 2014 / U. of London SOAS 2014 / New Life Exit One Documentary Series, Taipei Stock 2009 / Film and Video Center, U. of California at Irvine 2008 / DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival 2008 / Pacific Voices, University of Hawai’i 2008 / North American Taiwanese Women’s Association Convention 2008 / Featured Artist, Kearny Street Workshop, San Francisco 2007 / Vancouver Asian Film Festival 2006 / Hsin-Chu Image-Visual Museum 2006 / Kaoshiong Movie Library 2006 / Taichung National Nature of Science Museum 2006 / Taidung U. 2006 / Taiwan U. of Arts 2006 / Taiwan Int’l Ethnographic Film Festival & Tour (Opening showcase) 2005 / Film Arts Festival of Independent Cinema 2005 / Women Make Waves Festival & Tour 2005 / Roxbury Film Festival 2005 / New York Int’l Asian American Film Festival & Tour 2005 / Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2005 / Tainan U. of Arts 2005 / Women of Color Film Festival, U. of California at Santa Cruz 2005 / Pan Asian Film Festival, U. of Chicago 2005 / Chicago Asian American Showcase 2005 / San Francisco Int’l Asian American Film Festival 2005 / National Taiwan Public TV Broadcast 2005-2008

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