The film starts with the last image of “Major Huang,” Hsin-Yi HO’s beloved uncle, who worked on film editing all his life and died of cancer on April 14th, 2008. Major Huang had always hoped his skill could be passed down and he could make a film memorizing his grandfather, Tien-Teng Wang, who was senator and fought for human rights and sacrificed himself for Taiwan’s democracy in the February 28 Incident. The film is Hsin-Yi HO’s promise to accomplish her uncle’s life’s wish and also memorializes him.
The performance of the vagabond circus is like a story told by Major Huang who has been always cheerful and optimistic. Behind their humorous and cheerful acting, it is the enthusiasm for the performance art that gives them with unreserved daring and an unceasing sense of adventure. They lead people to view the history from another angle and to leave behind the sorrow. Beef noodles- was Major Huang’s favourite dish. HO promised to cook for him when she came back home during his hospitalization, but she had never expected it would be his turn to see her in Paris finally. The image of cooking beef noodles is fulfilling her promise. It also hints of the brutality of the war and agony of the people.
"Hold your video camera steady, Don’t move, Don’t laugh" were the words with a playful but serious tone that Major Huang deliberately told Hsin-Yi HO one year before his death. It happened to be the time that HO started to face filming, this brand new method of creating to her at that moment, seriously. With this film, she pays the deepest respect to her dear uncle. "Hold your video camera steady, Don’t move, Don’t laugh" conveys a devoted attitude to follow and continue the career of Major Huang sincerely, to observe a historical event seriously and to create the future heartily.
The burnt letter to Major Huang in the end of the film transitions gradually to the image of HO’s great grandfather, Tien-Teng Wang, in the flames. We were told he died like this in the fire. The fire burnt his flesh but his spirit has perpetually stayed with HO’s family. His showing up in the end is also a greeting to the grandson he could never meet when he was alive.
The film combines documentaries of the victory of the war of resistance against Japanese aggression and World War II, the regaining of sovereignty after the war, and the February 28 Incident. Meanwhile, it footnotes each story through the poems of HO’s great grandfather, Wang. The historical trajectory of Taiwan here is interweaved with HO’s family member’s stories, the trajectories of the three-generation’s life.