Private Project

Man and Trees-Plum tree

Taiwan's first of its kind documentary series “Memoirs of the Tress” introduces the migration of the "Hakka" people by documenting the trees seen and used in their everyday lives. Through three specific species that the Hakka ancestors relied on - the plum tree, tallow tree, and chaste tree, we are able to explore the history of the interaction between trees and humans for the past thousands of years.
On New Year's Day every year, going up the mountains to marvel at the plum blossom is an important activity for the Taiwanese. This kind of artificially cultivated green plum appeared 3,000 years ago at the latest. There are many songs about plums in the Book of Songs, indicating that during the Zhou Dynasty, the green plum was a common fruit tree. About 1700 years ago, due to mixed reasons such as the collapse of the ruling bureau and climate turmoil, our ancestors moved southward, and the green plum was brought along to the Yangtze River basin; hundreds of years later, the Yellow Nest Uprising urged the ancestors to flock into the Ling-nan area. The green plum then flourished in the Pearl River basin; in the late years of the Ming dynasty and the early years of the Qing dynasty, with Zheng Cheng-Gong arriving in Taiwan, the green plum set foot in Taiwan and spread along the central mountain range. Due to the limitation of climate and soil, Taiwan's green plums are almost always grown at moderate to high altitudes, which is also where many Hakka settlements reside. Since the green plum share similar historical footprints with the Hakka people, what does the green plum represent in their hearts?

  • Chen Chiao-wei
  • Hsu Kuo-yang
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Television
  • Runtime:
    48 minutes 25 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 17, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    China, Taiwan
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Chen Chiao-wei

Chen Graduated from the Department of Radio and Television of the National Chengchi University, and her thesis film " Our Beautiful Time" won Best Director in the 30th "Student Individual Performance Category” of the Golden Harvest Awards. Chen has been involved in the production of " Mother Lessons" showcased on the PTS Life Story exhibition, serving as director, screenwriter and editor. The show was nominated for the 2015 Golden Bell Award for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor.

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Director Statement

The general public may not know that green plum was an important economic crop which played an important part in Taiwan's economic development. It once helped earn a fair amount of foreign exchange for Taiwan and is a big contributor which helped establish Taiwan's economic foundation. The plum blossoms which bloom every winter are like money in the eyes of the old farmers. The green plum is a fruit tree cultivated very early on by our ancestors. The culture of the plum has a long history. If we use the green plums as a device to peer into our ancestors’ past, we will not only find that it is rich in historical context, but also bears the sweetness of the lives that they once lived.