鏡頭背後的人類學家

胡台麗
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2013 / 5月

文‧朱立群 圖‧林格立


是紀錄,也是觀察,胡台麗的紀錄片新作《讓靈魂回家》,用人類學家的情感,拍出太巴塱人在挫折中,勇於追尋文化根源的激情與浪漫。


學者最忌做自己專業領域外的事,怕被說是「半調子」。但中研院民族所研究員胡台麗一手拿筆寫學術論文,另一手拿攝影機拍電影。20年來,她完成了8部人類學紀錄片,題材包括原住民、榮民、本省籍婦女,以及農村的變遷。

胡台麗的跨界事績還不止於此。她長期浸潤於原住民排灣族研究,先前從未想過會選擇不甚熟悉的阿美族議題進行影像紀錄,而且一拍就是8年,才完成2011年年底正式發表的《讓靈魂回家》。她把她的第一部阿美族紀錄片,獻給了太巴塱部落。

「如果人類學者不主動站出來攝製民族誌影片,就只好任憑台灣觀眾在采風式的原住民影像中接收訊息。」22年前,胡台麗寫下這句文字自惕;現在,她仍是台灣唯一一位密集且大量拍攝民族誌影片的人類學者。

遲來的挑戰

有趣的是,《讓靈魂回家》的拍片構想,一開始並不存在。胡台麗表示,2003年,民族所博物館館長把太巴塱部落想要索討祖屋柱子的信轉給她看,她當下唯一的念頭是:「這事終於臨到我們頭上了。」

當時,其他國家的原住民向博物館提出歸還文物的要求已很普遍。美國聯邦政府甚至早在1990年便通過《美國原住民墓穴保護及回復法案》,要求受聯邦經費補助的博物館及其他典藏機構,歸還原屬於美國原住民的文物。

胡台麗心想,太巴塱青年提出的訴求很有意義,放在台灣的脈絡來看,是原住民對傳統文化主體性的追求。一開始,胡台麗只是單純地想把事件過程紀錄下來,並無拍片的構想,因此,年輕人到民族所拜訪當天,她用的是DV,而非正式攝影機拍攝。

隨著追討行動持續進展,部落巫師到民族所舉行儀式、與祖靈對話,以及後來出現Kakita'an祖屋繼承人與部落發生土地糾紛,胡台麗嗅到事情並不只是歸還文物那麼單純,如果只是紀錄,而非以一部完整的紀錄片呈現,可能沒人可以看懂太巴塱部落究竟發生了什麼事。

太巴塱人迎回祖靈後,胡台麗多次前進部落,觀察他們討論、爭議如何重建祖屋,也看到年輕人推動文化復振的工作,這時,拍成紀錄片的計畫輪廓也越來越清楚。

而為了讓影像品質達到紀錄片的水準,胡台麗找來從她第5部紀錄片《愛戀排灣笛》就開始合作的攝影師李中旺,加入影像的拍攝。

拍攝、後製,8年抗戰

從2003年太巴塱年輕人提出索回祖柱,2004年正式迎回祖靈、2006年完成祖屋的重建,到部落土地糾紛未解、民族所協助祖屋繼承人申請文化景觀的認證,重建後的祖屋依舊風波不斷,對胡台麗而言,似乎看不到拍攝的句點,唯一能做的,就是一直拍下去,等到可開始剪輯時,已拍了兩百多小時的毛片。

影像資料如此大量、龐雜的情況,胡台麗還是第一次遇到。她說,以前拍16釐米影片,10小時長度的毛片,大約可剪成1小時的片子。而現在要把200小時的毛片,剪成七、八十分鐘的片子,資料整理的難度非以前的拍片經驗可比。

再者,從迎靈到祖屋重建,涉及巫師儀式及太巴塱起源的神話,都以阿美語發音,必須透過事後轉譯,再找出適合剪入的片段,再再拉長了影片後製的時間。

2011年紀錄片完成,距太巴塱人提出返還柱子的要求,足足長達8 年,是胡台麗至今拍攝耗時最久的紀錄片。

中立,不代表沒立場

胡台麗借自太巴塱青年Fuday的發想,將片名取作《讓靈魂回家》。影片處理了造成太巴塱部落現況的歷史因素,包括日本殖民、國民政府統治,以及改信基督宗教對傳統祖靈信仰的衝擊。此外,為了保存文物,卻導致部落失去神聖的精神文化,博物館的角色,也是片中討論的重點。

西方人類學界的重量級期刊《視覺人類學》評論指出,胡台麗細膩地觀察、紀錄,對博物館研究、宗教、物質文化、原住民生活變遷有興趣者,《讓靈魂回家》是推薦必看的紀錄片。

身為導演,胡台麗在影片中同時也是訪談提問者與敘述者。對於博物館取得文物的正當性,以及部落與祖屋家族間的土地爭議,她以幽微的方式,在片中表達她的觀點。

譬如,祖靈迎回部落後,頭目與議員反對祖屋本家重建祖屋,這時,胡台麗透過旁白,援引文獻資料提出她的看法,認為只有讓Kakita'an家重建和管理祖屋,才能讓房子變成一個有靈魂、有祭儀的地方,傳統文化也才有復振的希望。

胡台麗強調,人類學紀錄片導演保持中立、不介入,但不表示沒有立場。「Kakita'an家很委屈地被日本人趕出祖屋。瞭解這些歷史之後,自然就會對這些家族寄予同情。」

另一方面,胡台麗不避諱追問民族所博物館拿取、收藏太巴塱Kakita'an屋柱的正當性。她在片中訪問當年把柱子搬回中研院的民族所前輩研究員劉斌雄,得到的答案是:當年搬走柱子時,只有請示當時的部落頭目,卻沒有取得祖屋家族的同意。「過程確實不夠細膩,」胡台麗說。

祖屋家族在重建祖屋過程遇到部落意見領袖的質疑,對於這些反對意見,胡台麗在片中讓當事人具體陳述,把思考、判斷、評論的空間,交給觀眾。

激發反思的力量

《讓靈魂回家》完成後,在國內巡迴11個原住民部落放映,胡台麗親自出席其中的9場。她表示,太巴塱尋回祖靈、重建祖屋的經過,給了其他族群、部落很大的啟發,放映後的討論會上,觀眾提出各自部落面對的文化困境,以及對於古老傳統的懷思。譬如,在屏東縣泰武鄉排灣族佳平部落放映時,族人對於目前也收藏在中研院民族所內Zingrur頭目家屋的祖靈柱,是否也該循太巴塱部落迎回祖靈的方式辦理,有了熱烈的討論。

「相對於論文書寫,影像的訴諸是更直接的,得到部落的迴響也較大,」胡台麗說。

胡台麗1997年完成的《穿過婆家村》,創下國內第一部紀錄片在電影院商業放映的紀錄,後續作品《愛戀排灣笛》與《石頭夢》也循此模式排上院線。目前礙於政府補助制度的變革,針對《讓靈魂回家》,胡台麗沒有商業放映的計畫,當下只想專注於深耕部落及社區巡迴,只要有團體想看,她義不容辭。

《讓靈魂回家》的配樂由美國德州萊斯大學音樂院副教授陳士惠擔綱。這部影片今年3月下旬展開哈佛、哥倫比亞、加州柏克萊等6所美國知名大學巡迴放映。胡台麗表示,除了人類學學者外,觀眾席上不乏來自兩岸的留學生,而由會後討論的焦點來看,西方觀眾對於台灣原住民的傳統祖靈、巫師儀式,以及西方宗教的影響,最為關注。

「歷史一去不復返,阿美族太巴塱的現狀也很難說扭轉就扭轉,但對於族群精神本源、靈魂的追尋,是讓一個族群健康發展的力量,」胡台麗說。

正是太巴塱年輕人對於尋根義無反顧的浪漫,以及祖屋後代家人在挫敗中的堅持,讓一邊做研究、一邊拍電影的胡台麗深受感動。《讓靈魂回家》,對太巴塱,對其他原住民部落,以及對胡台麗個人,歷時8年,終於有了交代。

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EN

The Anthropologist Behind the Camera

Hu Tai-li

Sam Ju /photos courtesy of Jimmy Lin /tr. by Jonathan Barnard

It both documents and observes. Hu Tai-li’s new documentary Returning Souls takes an anthropologist’s look at how the people of Tafalong have courageously searched for their roots with great passion and idealism in the face of great difficulties.


Hu Tai-li, a research fellow at the Academia Sinica’s Institute of Ethnology, works with both pen and camera, writing academic papers as well as filming ethnographic documentaries. Over 20 years, she has completed eight documentaries on topics such as Aborigines, veterans, Taiwanese women, and the transformation of farming communities.

But her breaking of boundaries doesn’t stop there. Having immersed herself in long-term research into the Pai­wan tribe, she never imagined that she would choose to make a documentary about the Amis, about whom she had previously known little—and what’s more that it would take eight years to complete. The film, Returning Souls, wasn’t finished until the end of 2011. She dedicated her first-ever documentary film about the Amis to the people of Ta­fa­long.

A late-in-coming challenge

In this instance, the documentary, and its structure, fell into her lap. Hu Tai-li explains that in 2003, when the director of the Institute of Ethnology’s museum first gave her a look at the email from the Ta­fa­long tribe asking for the return of the pillars of the Ka­ki­ta’an ancestral home, her first thought was: “I knew something like this would come along sooner or later.”

Hu thought that the Ta­fa­long youths’ request was quite meaningful: It demonstrated that Aborigines were seeking ownership of their traditional culture. At first Hu wanted purely to document what was going on, and she had no thought of making a documentary film. Consequently, when the tribal youths came to visit the Institute of Ethnology, she filmed the visit on digital video and not film stock.

As the events unfolded—with the tribal medium performing a ceremony at the institute to communicate with the Ka­ki­ta’an ancestral spirits, and later with the land dispute between the Ka­ki­ta’an descendants and the tribal chief—Hu began to sense that this wasn’t simply a story about the return of tribal artifacts. After the Ta­fa­long welcomed back their ancestral spirits, Hu several times went to the tribal village to observe their discussions and disputes over rebuilding the ancestral home. She also witnessed young tribal people working to revive the tribal culture. At that point, it became clearer and clearer that the events merited a documentary film.

Eight years of filming and postproduction

The Ta­fa­long youth first requested that the ancestral pillars be returned to the tribal village in 2003. With successive controversies involving the reconstruction of the ancestral home, Hu began to get the feeling that the filming was never going to end. All she could do was to continue to shoot. When she finally began to edit, she already had more than 200 hours of film.

It was the first time that Hu as a filmmaker had encountered images so numerous and multifarious. When previously filming in 16 mm, Hu found that she might shoot 10 hours of footage that would be edited into a one-hour film. Now she was attempting to cut 200 hours of footage into a 70- or 80-minute film. The arrangement of the material was posing far greater challenges than she had ever before encountered.

What’s more, everything from the welcoming of the spirits to the reconstruction of the ancestral home, including the ceremonies conducted by the shaman and the retelling of the Ta­fa­long origin myths, were conducted in Amis, and required translations. Then she had to look through all that footage for the most suitable clips for the film. The time expended for the postproduction work kept growing and growing.

Once the film was finished in 2011, eight years had passed since members of the tribe had first asked for the return of the pillars. It’s the most time-consuming film project Hu has ever been involved in.

Neutrality, not indifference

Hu took the idea of Fu­day, a Ta­fa­long youth, to name the film Returning Souls. (Directly translated, the Chinese means, “Let the souls come home.”) The film deals with issues such as the historical factors behind Ta­fa­long’s falling on hard times, including Japanese colonization, ROC rule, and the impact of conversion to Christianity on traditional tribal spiritual beliefs. The role of the museum—whose attempt to preserve artifacts in fact led to a loss of tribal spiritual culture—was also a central focus of the film.

A review in Visual Anthropology, an important Western anthropological journal, urged readers to view the film, praising Hu for her meticulous observations and documentation, and noting that the film would be of special interest to those concerned about such matters as museum-based research, religion, material culture and the transformation of Aboriginal life.

As the director, Hu in the film serves both as interviewer and narrator. With regard to the legitimacy of the museum’s possession of the artifacts, as well as questions about the land dispute between the tribe and the family, she doesn’t shy away from expressing her own viewpoint in the film.

For instance, once the ancestral spirits are invited back to the tribe, the tribal chief and the tribe’s elected representatives object to the reconstruction of the Ka­ki­ta’an home. At that point, Hu uses narration, quoting historical documents to convey the idea that only by letting members of the Ka­ki­ta’an family rebuild and care for their ancestral home will it once again become a place suitable for holding spirits and hosting ceremonies, and only then will there be any hope of reviving traditional culture.

Hu emphasizes that directors of anthropological films try to maintain neutrality and not get involved, but that doesn’t mean they lack a point of view. “The Ka­ki­ta’an were grievously wronged when the Japanese evicted them from their family home. When you understand this historical background, you’re naturally going to have some sympathy for the family.”

Furthermore, Hu doesn’t hesitate to look into the legitimacy of how the museum of the Institute of Ethnology obtained the Ka­ki­ta’an pillars. She discovers that back when they removed the pillars from the village, they received permission only from the village chief but not the family. “The process was clearly not thorough enough,” says Hu.

To stimulate reflection

When Returning Souls was finished, it was sent on tour for screenings in 11 Aboriginal communities. Hu personally attended nine of them. She says that the story of the return of the Ta­fa­long spirits and the reconstruction of the Ka­ki­ta’an ancestral home has given inspiration to other tribal peoples and communities. In the discussions held after the screenings, audiences brought up the cultural predicaments faced by various tribes, as well as their own longings for traditional culture. For instance, when the film was shown for the Jia­ping community of the Pai­wan tribe in Ping­tung County’s ­Taiwu Township, it provoked passionate discussion about the ancestral spirit pillars from its Zing­rur family of tribal chiefs, which are also in the collection of the Institute of Ethnology. The tribespeople discussed whether they should invite their ancestral souls to come back home as the Ta­fa­long had done.

“In comparison to an academic paper, visual images have a much more direct appeal, and elicit much greater response from Aboriginal communities,” says Hu.

In 1997 Hu finished Passing Through My Mother-in-Law’s Village. It was the first documentary to be shown in commercial theaters in Taiwan. Her following works, Sounds of Love and Sorrow and Stone Dream, likewise had theatrical releases. With regard to Returning Souls, Hu has no plans for a commercial release. Instead she wants the film to reach large tribal audiences through screening tours of their communities. She welcomes requests from any group that would like to view it.

The soundtrack for Returning Souls was written by Chen Shih-hui, an associate professor of music composition at Rice University in Houston, Texas. In mid-March the film went on a tour of six prominent American universities, including Harvard, Columbia, and UC Berkeley. From the discussions that followed the screenings, Hu explains, it was clear that American audiences were most interested in traditional beliefs in ancestral spirits, shamanistic ceremonies and the impact of Western religion.

“What’s done is done,” says Hu. “And it’s not as if the current situation in Ta­fa­long can be changed simply by saying you want to change it. But the search for the original tribal spirit and the ancestral spirits is a healthy development for the tribe.”

The young Ta­fa­long tribespeople’s resolute and idealistic search for their roots, and the determination of the Ka­ki­ta’an descendants to rebuild their ancestral home greatly moved scholar-cum-filmmaker Hu Tai-li. With Returning Souls’ completion, there may finally be some measure of closure for Tafalong, for other Aboriginal communities, and for Hu herself.

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