The War That Never Was read more

The War That Never Was

Magnum photographer Chien-chi Chang’s mother was born into a poverty-stricken mountainous region in Taiwan in 1938. Deprived of any proper education she lacked awareness of important historical events taking place in and outside of Taiwan. This Film depicts her perspective on life in Taiwan during the second part of the 20th century. It was premiered at Art Basel Hong Kong.

Short Film, 20 min, Austria, 2017

Client: Chien-Chi Chang / Chi Wen Gallery Taiwan
Services: Editing

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Magnum photographer Chien-Chi Chang questions his mother, whose entire life revolved around the struggle of survival and the raising of five children alongside her husband. Chang’s mother’s life remained restricted to a single tiny village, which contributed to her lack of knowledge about historical events in Taiwan. She recalls no awareness of Taiwan’s imposition of Martial Law (1949 – 1987) and has never heard of the Cold War. Yet, she remembers the dates of every important family event.

The soundscape realistically and vividly depicts Taiwan’s past and features a portion of George Orwell’s essay “You and the Atomic Bomb”, through which he was credited with being the first writer to use the term “Cold War” in recent history.


This film was edited in close collaboration with Magnum photographer Chien-Chi Chang in Graz (Austria) and premiered at Art Basel Hongkong.

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