Tigerwomen Grow Wings

Germany/Taiwan 2005, 83 and 56 min, Color, Digi-Beta

Available as a bonus feature on the GHOSTED DVD, see right.

Press kit (PDF, 0,1 MB)


Against the backdrop of Taiwan’s turbulent presidential elections in 2004, TIGERWOMEN GROW WINGS portrays three women of different generations. Noted opera singer Hsieh Yueh-hsia, internationally renowned writer Li Ang, and 23-year-old film director Chen Yin-jung are featured in this documentary, which focuses on the changes taking place in the lives of women in Taiwan’s youthful democracy.


Hsieh Yueh Hsia // Li Ang // Chen Yin-jung // Peng Ya-ling // Josephine Ho // Wang Rong-yu // Wang Pin-kuo // Michelle Yeh // Aileen Li // Tony Yang // Kuo Ya-ching // Yeh Yeh // Yeh Lee-shin // Li Ci // Justine Chen // Lu Mei-chiao // Shih Li Yu // Shih Shu


Camera: Elfi Mikesch // AD: Wen Cheng // Camera-Assistant: Wang Zhi-tian // 2nd Camera: Tonike Traum // Sound: Yang Chia-hao // Drivers: Hsiung Fu-jung, Huang Wei-pang, Tan Hsiao-hu // Editor: Angela Christlieb // Production Manager: Madeleine Dewald // Titles: Oliver Lammert // Translations: Martina Hasse, Colin Richardson // Text Advisor: Christian Weller // Transfers: Thomas Bronner, Liao Ta-hsien // Avid-Support: Christian Mattern // Music: Pau Dull Panai, Difang, Zhao Xi // Sound Mix: Roland Musolff // On-Line Editor: Matthias Behrens // Written, directed and produced by Monika Treut

A Co-Production of Hyena Films and PTS-Taiwan, Commissioning editor: Jessie Shih
with support by Filmfoerderung Hamburg GmbH

World Sales- except Taiwan: Hyenafilms Hamburg, Germany info@hyenafilms.com
Rights for Taiwan: PTS TV www.pts.org.tw


Bangkok, Berlin, Thessaloniki, San Francisco Input, Warsaw, Cracow, Taipei, Cambridge, Jerusalem, Cornell University, New York, QFF Djakarta,, Berlin Asia-Pacific FF, Rio de Janeiro, Budapest, Singapore and others.


Taiwan has become the second home for Hamburg-based director Monika Treut. In her fascinating documentary TIGERWOMEN GROW WINGS she portrays three strong women who reflect the zeitgeist of the fast foreward moving island and its young democracy. Her sensitive and entertaining portrait of three women from three generations draws the picture of a changing society and, at the same time, the political identity crisis of a country who tries to free itself from overpowering China. Die Welt

The film’s premise is a well-established trajectory of modernization. Hsieh Yueh-hsia represents tradition, Li Ang transformation and Chen Ying-jung modernity. Recalling Farewell My Concubine, Hsieh Yueh-hsia was sold to a Taiwanese opera company as a child in the 1930s, and endured a brutalizing upbringing, while Chen Ying-jung is an archetypal Taiwanese urbanite, and her hugely successful film Formula 17 – a glossy gay fantasy set in Taipei – is as far from the conservative social mores of Hsieh’s youth as would be possible. (…) The film explicitly undermines standard narratives, creating a rich counter-history of women’s lives as radical, even transgressive, and showing the blurred boundaries of personal identities in Taiwan regardless of the historical period. Hsieh Yueh-hsia spent her illustrious career in Taiwanese opera playing only male characters, and the film intimates at her sexual life with female partners, and sometimes violent relationships with men. The film is also attentive to her Taoist religious beliefs as a worshipper of the god Matsu. The sexual life of the writer Li Ang is well-enough known in her own novels, and in the film she focusses on her politics as a supporter of the democracy movement in the 1970s. Li Ang does not pass up opportunities to play the celebrity, self-consciously showing Taiwan to the German director. Chen Ying-jung is the most insouciant, constructing her identity as Taipei urban cool, but offering glimpses of a focussed and ambitious artist. Western reportage on Taiwan is almost uniformly abysmal, falling back onto lazy cliches and sensationalisms over the prospect of a cross-straits war. Tigerwomen Grow Wings is a rare intervention in Western media imaginings of Taiwan, attentive to the complexities of personal stories without being intrusive, and locating them against the backdrop of political social movements over many decades. mharrison.wordpress.com

With more than twenty-three million people, the island of Taiwan is a major participant in global communication. Yet, according to the documentary, Tigerwomen Grow Wings, this small island country is in danger of losing its freedom to the super power of China, a fact of which too few people in the world are aware. (..) Noted writer/director Monika Treut has produced a fascinating study of three Taiwanese women from three different generations, who share their varied life experiences as opera singer, author, and filmmaker. Treut grants each protagonist time to tell her story while the changing dynamics of the political climate unfold with subtlety. notes from hollywood.com

Monika Treut has achieved a precise understanding of Taiwanese and Chinese history and the complicated relationship of the Taiwanese-Chinese relations. (…) The film elegantly paints an accurate picture of the island and its multi-faceted everyday life. Central News Agency, Taiwan

Monika Treut’s absorbing and revealing documentary, TIGERWOMEN GROW WINGS, paints in vivid detail the individual life stories of the women while also drawing a picture of Taiwan as it steers a course between the conflicting values of East and West, of Confucianism and globalisation, and, at the same time, facing military threats from the People’s Republic of China. Cambridge IFF

In the realm of discovery was a fascinating documentary on Taiwan entitled TIGERWOMEN GROW WINGS made by German documentarian, Monika Treut, who specializes in films dealing with femininity, gender and sexuality. (..) Seeing contemporary Taiwan through the eyes of three highly accomplished women we get a comprehensive picture of the island. (..) The setting is largely the neon jungle of the capital, Taipei, a city and a country that continues to remain largely unknown in the West. Since Taiwan is the best friend we have in South-east Asia, it behooves us to know more about her, and Monika Treut’s exceptional film goes a long way toward filling the information gap. filmfestivals.com