Black Bear Forest

A three-day trek along near-uncharted trails in Taiwan’s mountain territory is rewarding: the route leads to the Dafen region where it is possible to spot some endangered Formosan black bears. According to researchers, there are only 200–600 individuals left in the world.

Hwang Mei-hsiu has studied these bears since the late 1990s. Her research has led her to become friends with forest ranger Lin. Although the two had a difficult start (Lin was annoyed by Mei-hsiu’s loud, tank-like way of walking, for starters), they have developed a sisterly bond over the years.

Filmed over the course of six years, the film takes the viewer deep into the realm of bears. The soundtrack emanates the sounds of the forest. The picture is filled by images of the magical forest covered with moss and mist. Aerial shots of imposing Taiwanese river valleys and nocturnal shots of teddies rooting in the mud create a marvellous contrast. The film depicts the real work of a researcher deep in the Yushan National Park. The slow, at times poetic, film is not only a nature documentary about bears but also a peek into the life of the local Bunun people.

Katariina Rönnqvist

Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English

  • Director: Lee Hsiang-hsiu
  • Country: Taiwan
  • Year: 2016
  • Length: 126 min
  • Age limit: K12
  • Format: DCP
  • Cinematography: Chou I wen, Tsai Cheng-Hui, Liang Shiang-Lung, Wu Xian-Kuen, Lee Hsiang-Hsiu
  • Editing: Chen Hsiao-Dong, Lee Hsiang-Hsiu
  • Music: Chen Chien Nien
  • Production: Lee Hsiang-Hsiu


  • Finnkino Itis 5: Wed 30.1. at 20.15
  • Kinopalatsi 8: Fri 1.2. at 19.00
  • Bio Rex: Sun 3.2. at 13.00