Pao, a young man from southern Taiwan, is deployed to the crack unit Sea Dragon. These men are stationed on the island of Kinmen off the Chinese coast, where they are subjected to constant bombardment by Mao’s troops. Before long Pao finds himself confronted by an attack that involves not just bombs but also Communist pamphlets. Unable to cope with the psychological or the physical demands of military regimen, Pao is transferred to ‘Unit 831’ – a code name for the brothels that have been set up semi-officially to keep Taiwanese soldiers happy at the front. This is where Pao encounters female prisoners working as prostitutes in exchange for reduced prison sentences.
After his thriller Monga (2010) and his satirical melodrama Love (2012), two successful works that both screened in Panorama, Doze Niu Chen-Zer now turns his attentions to taboo topics of recent Taiwanese history. His film shows an oppressive male military society and women who are imprisoned in stereotypical gender roles and hierarchies of violence. At the same time, his work tells a moving story about growing up.