James Van Der Beek’s Taiwan historical movie “Formosa Betrayed” bound for North America!

One of the more interesting movies to check out in 2010 over in North America is actually a Taiwan historical movie called “Formosa Betrayed” (note: Formosa is the former name given to Taiwan by Portuguese settlers several centuries ago). The political thriller, which was released in limited screenings last year and received awards at various film circuits, didn’t see a broad release schedule in 2009, since the movie was still being shopped around for a distributor. Fortunately, it found a distributor and will have a North American release in 15-20 select cities on February 28th. If you live in a big city, you might be one of the lucky ones to have it playing near you. We can already come up with two reasons why we’re excited about this movie.

The first reason is that the lead actor for this film is James Van Der Beek. The American actor – who shot to fame with roles in movies such as “Varsity Blues” and shows such as “Dawson’s Creek” – has finally grown up from his younger days and now plays the role an FBI investigator, assigned with the task of searching for the killers of a Taiwanese professor from a midwest American college that eventually flee to Taiwan. Even though the movie starts off in Chicago and heads off to Taiwan, the Asian location was actually shot in Thailand. The first reason was because resources were already in place in the film location-happy country. Had the producers decided to instead film in Taiwan, it would have been more costly since they would have had to ship the equipment in from Japan. The other reason was that Thailand had the infrastructure to work with, since modern-day Taiwan looks nothing like it did back in the plot’s 1980s.

The other reason we’re excited is that it’s actually an American movie that focuses on Taiwan, one of two countries in East Asia – the other being South Korea – largely neglected in American films in favor of more familiar locales China (e.g., Mission: Impossible 3, The Karate Kid (2010)) and Japan (e.g., The Last Samurai, Lost in Translation). The movie does take a page in history that most Americans may not be familiar with; the plot takes place during a tumultuous formative time in Taiwanese history, and is based on true events that involved a tragic murder of a Taiwanese professor for voicing his opinions on having an independent and democratic Taiwan. This movie also touches upon identity issues with the country’s independence, but that’s a complex discussion onto itself.

We're not sure if this movie will receive a nationwide screening in North America, but judging from the trailer and the plot, it should.  This looks to be a smart and entertaining movie, so definitely don't miss out if it's playing in your local theater next month.  Hopefully, a movie set in modern-day Taiwan will make its way to the western hemisphere in the near future.  We're sure that there's more places to film in East Asia besides Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.

For more information about the movie, check out the videos below and visit the movie's official site and Facebook group.

"Formosa Betrayed" Trailer:

Source: Variety, FormosaTheMovie.com

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