How High is the Mountain

Public Television Service Foundation

On the day his son is born, filmmaker Tang Shiang-Chu learns that his father has suffered a stroke. As the older man begins his recovery, delighting in the growth of his grandchild, the family decides to travel from Taiwan to the ancestral home in China, and to record this journey on film. The resulting narrative offers visual beauty exquisitely matched by emotional riches. The family’s expedition becomes a metaphor for the far greater questions surrounding the 50-year history of relations between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China. After so many years of turmoil, the questions focus on how one might know if he or she is a genuine Taiwaner, new Taiwanese, half-mainlander, or something altogether different. As the elder Tang looks for his past he visits an old teacher who had touched his life, friends from his youth, and the children of friends who have passed away. And when he joins his few remaining relatives the greetings and partings take on the poignant sense of final meetings, of journeys coming to an end. But as Director Tang comments, “I know of a medium that can keep time at a standstill. It allows me to hold on to those triumphant moments.” How High is the Mountain was produced by Yeh Ju-Feng and Line Producer Ko Li-Lieng for Executive Producers Sylvia H. Feng and Tsai Fang-Ju. Cinematographers Tsai Cheng-Hui and Kwan Ben-Liang captured Taiwan and the PROC on film which was edited by Chen Po-Wen. Music was composed by Chen Chien-Nien. Director Tang Shiang-Chu also served as Sound Recordist with Tu Duu-Chin. For its lyrical exploration of the power of family to link generations, even those divided by geography and politics, How High is the Mountain receives a Peabody Award.