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
ORIGINAL MUSIC Lim Giong
SONG PERFORMANCE Wu Shin-Fei
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Chen Chong-Jia
PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS Howard Chen, Michael L. Wong, Wu Zhong-Wei
PRODUCER Yao Jui-Chung
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Sylvia H. Feng
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.”
University of London SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies / 22nd Fukuoka Asian Film Festival / The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival / Austin Asian American / Echo Park Film Center Human Rights Film Festival / Taiwan International Documentary Film Festival / International Workshop & Symposium Regarding Hansen’s Disease / Taiwan Public Television
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
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