Strawman. 1987. Taiwan. Directed by Wang Tung. With Chang Chun-Fang, Ke Jun-Xiong, Lin Meijiao, Yang Kuei-Mei. 35mm. In Mandarin, Min Nam, and Japanese; English subtitles. 94 min.
In 1940s Taiwan, a small Japanese military marching band ceremoniously arrives at an impoverished farming village to return the remains of Taiwanese soldiers who died fighting in a war far from home. The Japanese occupation (1895–1945) is nearing its end, but the villagers are less concerned with colonial politics than with feeding their families. One day, an American bomb falls onto a field, where it lies unexploded. Oblivious to the potential danger, two clownish brothers excitedly carry it into town hoping to be rewarded by the Japanese general. The journey is filled with slapstick humor as the two escape multiple near-death scenarios. A classic of the Taiwan New Cinema, Strawman is a black comedy that brings into sharp focus the absurdity of life under occupation. Print courtesy of Taiwan Film Institute.