Joyful Life

54 mins  DV  color  2007  Minnanese/Mandarin/Japanese  Chinese/English subs

ADDITIONAL CAMERA  Chen Guan-Ye, Chen Ruo-Ying, Chen Wen-Bin
LO-SHENG CREATIVE TEAM  Chen Zai-Tian, Huang Wen-Zhang, Lang Cai-Yun, Lin Chue, Tang Xiang-Ming, Zhang Wen-Bin, Zhou Fu-Zi
ACTORS  Chen Ruo-Ying, Tang Xiang-Ming, Wu Shin-Fei
PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS  Howard Chen, Michael L. Wong, Wu Zhong-Wei
PRODUCER  Yao Jui-Chung

Writings about my experiences witnessing the residents’ courage and perseverance have also been published in Collective Wisdom (2009), edited by Donald Gerard, and in Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies (2013) entitled “On the Communal Other: Collaborative Documentary Praxis in Joyful Life.”

Clarion Performing Arts Center, San Francisco 2023 / University of London SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies 2015 / International Symposium Regarding Hansen’s Disease, Taipei, Taiwan 2009 / 22nd Fukuoka Asian Film Festival 2008 / Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2008 / Austin Asian American Film Festival 2008 / Echo Park Film Center Human Rights Film Festival, Los Angeles 2008 / Global Undergrounds, Artists’ Television Access, San Francisco 2008 / Pacific Voices, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2008 / North American Taiwanese-American Women’s Association, CA 2007 / East Bay Taiwanese-American Community Center, CA 2007 / Taiwan International Documentary Film Festival 2006 / Taiwan Public Television Broadcast 2006-2009


Joyful Life is a feature documentary in collaboration with Hansen’s disease (Leprosy) patients residing at Taiwan’s Lo-Sheng (“Joyful Life”), one of the few remaining sanatoriums in the world, on the verge of disappearing.

Lo-Sheng (“Joyful Life”) leprosy colony was established in 1930 on the Sinjuang hillside in the outskirts of Taipei, Taiwan’s capital. As many as 1,100 patients lived in Lo-Sheng. In 1954, Lo-Sheng’s isolation policy, which severely restricted residents’ civil liberties, was finally lifted. As a result, leprosy patients had the choice to remain, to leave, or to self-admit, which deeply transformed the community.

In 2002, more than one-third of Lo-Sheng was destroyed due to subway construction and other pending urban development projects. As a result, more than half of the 300 remaining residents moved into the newly constructed hospital nearby. Due to resident, student and human rights activism, plans for total destruction have stopped. At this point, the sanatorium remains despite continued pressures from the government, private interests and local civilians to excavate.

Conceived as a collaboration among the residents of Lo-Sheng, a Taiwanese-American filmmaker, documentary students, and cultural workers, Joyful Life presents diverse perspectives of Lo-Sheng residents in the midst of their activism to preserve Lo-Sheng and not be moved to a nearby hospital. Filmmaker-led workshops prepare residents for their own storytelling and filming – creating an intimate portrait of a historically marginalized community and their inspiring determination to protect what they call their home.



The ‘drama’ sequences that the residents participate in, interwoven into the film, form a strong interaction between filmmaker-camera-subject, which is rarely seen in documentary films on the same subject. -Robert Chen, Associate Professor, Department of Radio and Television, National Chengchi University


For updates and getting involved, you can visit Youth Alliance for Losheng and Happy Losheng

For information on sales and rental, go to Distribution

A co-production with Taiwan Public Television Service’s Viewpoints Program. Additional support from IDEA (Integration Dignity and Economic Advancement), and the Oral History Project/ILA Global Project on the History of Leprosy.