This article examines mnemonic politics after 1987’s democratization in Taiwan by discussing the cinematic representation of colonial memory, mainly focusing on Wei Te‐Sheng's films set in the Japanese colonial era. After the end of martial law in 1987, prohibited issues such as Japanese colonialism and Indigenous Taiwanese in the representational sphere began to appear on the screen. Therefore, the colonial memory that emerged on screen entangles with Cold War politics and the postcolonial geopolitical situation. In Wei's films, he links heroic Indigenous people in the history of Taiwan with the archetypical land. The suffering of those who are tightly bound to the land inspires a sense of deprived sovereignty—that is, occupation. The sense of occupation indicates the long history of colonial Taiwan, from the time of the Netherlands and Spain, via the Qing Dynasty and Japan, to the KMT government. Wei's films reclaim Taiwanese history from the perspective of the Indigenous people who lived in Taiwan before 1945 rather than that of the occupiers.
Regardless of the memory of resistance, surrender, victory, or defeat, Wei's films, however, romanticize the memory of the Japanese colonial era. In doing so, his films denounce the time of KMT “occupiers” in the postcolonial era and reinforce Taiwanese nationalism against Chinese nationalism. Through textual analysis of Wei's films and comparison with other films provoking colonial memory, this article investigates how colonial memories are negotiated in the post–Cold War Taiwanese cinema to reformulate the contentious idea of “nation” and “nationalism” in Taiwan.