Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above

Synopsis: A documentary that documents Taiwan from an aerial perspective. It offers viewers a glimpse of Taiwan's natural beauty as well as the effect of human activities and urbanization to our environment.
Director(s): Po-lin Chi
  1 win & 1 nomination.
93 min


Beyond Beauty:
Taiwan from Above

Please don't be surprised.

This is our home, Taiwan.

If you haven't seen it like this,

maybe it's because you've never been

this high above it.

Let us become a drifting cloud

or a flying bird.

Together, we see Taiwan.

Together, we witness the beauty

and sadness of this island.

Every boat loaded with a day's catch

is a reward for the fishermen's hard work.

Every field full of crops

is a prize for the farmers' effort.

Our ancestors, coming from different places,

sailed across the treacherous strait

in different times.

But they all had stood in the same fields,

growing rice humbly,

nurturing the crops with their sweat.

They worked day in and day out

just to grow enough food to

build their homes and support their children.

No matter where the field is.

No matter how old we are.

People from all walks of life

have worked as hard as they can in this land.

We not only keep ourselves going

but promise ourselves that

we will create a better future

for our next generation.

This island has been quietly nurturing us

together with other living creatures.

They had lived in harmony

with this land for centuries.

But who disrupted the balance

between all living creatures

and sowed the seeds of disaster?

June 2012.

We were flying along

the coast of Taitung County.

At the time, although it began to rain,

it wasn't too heavy.

But when the helicopter turned

towards Pingtung Plain,

it was hit by the southwest monsoon current.

Heavy rain poured down

and hit the front window hard.


currents started to emerge on the ground.

Water flooded the fish farms

as well as the fruit orchards.

During the past two decades,

on average each year,

we have 93 days of heavy rain,

42 days of very heavy rain,

and 13 days of extreme rain.

But during the past thirty years,

the days we have heavy rains

have clearly increased

while the days we have light rains

have clearly decreased.

In other words,

we either have no rain

or very heavy rain.

The total rainfall in Taiwan

hasn't changed much,

but rain falls on fewer and fewer days.

The rain concentrates to such an extent that

the land can no longer bear it.

Take Typhoon Morakot for example,

the rainfall in Mt. Ali alone

was a record-breaking 2855 mm

in just five days.

It was more than the yearly average

rainfall in Taiwan.

Before year 2000,

disasters on such a big scale happened

once every three or four years.

But in the past ten years,

we have had a super typhoon that

caused such serious floods almost every year.

Flying through layers of clouds,

we see Mt. Dawu from above.

The scars left by Typhoon Morakot

remain clearly visible.

In the past ten years,

every time heavy rain

poured down in the mountains,

similar disasters happened.

Hundreds of tons of

mudflow and fallen rocks

remind us

how scary a natural disaster can be.

Taiwan is a small mountainous island.

Mountains make up

almost three fourth of the surface.

Moreover, most of it is very steep.

Landslides, tremors,

and mudflows often happen.

Now after the 9/21 Earthquake

disasters take place even more frequently.

The driftwood washed down

from the mountains

were once the big tall trees in the forest.

Now, lying silently in a pile on the riverbank,

it looks like a jumble of

abandoned dead bodies.

Building a highway through the mountains

was once regarded as a symbol of

the iron will of mankind.

In fact,

it was the beginning of the end of the world.

Men arrogantly drew the shortest line

across the mountains and forests.

By doing that, men destroyed

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    "Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 24 Oct. 2020. <>.

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