Paradise in Service (軍中樂園)
Genre War / Action / Drama / Romance
Format Color / Scope / DCP
Runtime 133 min
Release Date Sep. 5, 2014 (Taiwan)
Director Doze, NIU Chen-Zer (Monga, LOVE)
Editing Director HOU Hsiao-Hsien
Cast Ethan JUAN (Monga, LOVE), WAN Qian (Christmas Rose), CHEN Jianbin (“Three Kingdoms”), CHEN Yi-Han (LOVE, Hear Me)
Festival & Awards
69th Edinburgh International Film Festival – Directors’ Showcase section
International Feature Film Competition
65th Berlin International Film Festival – Panorama selection
51st Golden Horse Awards – Best Supporting Actor Award (CHEN Jianbin)
Best Supporting Actress Award (WAN Qian)
15th Chinese Film Media Awards – Film of the Year Award
Best Supporting Actor Award (CHEN Jianbin)
19th Busan International Film Festival – Opening Film
34th Hawaii International Film Festival – Competition
11st Atlanta Asian Film Festival – Official Selection
8th Austin Asian American Film Festival – Official Selection
Unit 831, the military code name for front line brothels officially sanctioned by the army of Republic of China, has been an open secret in Taiwan for six decades. Most 831’s were situated on outlying islands which have been the first line of defense against the Communist China since the ROC government withdrew to Taiwan in the 1949 civil war.
Since China’s ruling Communist Party considers Taiwan a renegade province and has never ruled out the use of force to bring the island under its wing, all Taiwanese men over the age of 19 must submit to a term of compulsory military service.
Set in the island Kinmen, often seen as the most dangerous military base because it’s geographically close to China, Paradise in Service follows the adventure of a boy who serves his military
service in Unit 831 from 1969 to 1972, in preparation for a war that could erupt anytime.
Through an unlucky lottery draw result, Pao, a twenty-something young man from Southern Taiwan has to serve the military in the remote and perilous Kinmen. Moreover, he is assigned to the Sea Dragon (ARB), a unit noted for the toughest physical training. It never occurs to Pao, however, that the greatest challenge in his military service lies not in the Sea Dragon but in Unit 831, a special task he is later appointed to…
In this peculiar assignment, Pao vows to keep his virginity against all odds.
This is the first time I revisited my childhood memories and faced the emotions buried so deep within. I endeavored to portray the common state of my father’s generation– longings for homeland and sadness of involuntary rootlessness.
Ever since I was little, I have witnessed how the war in 1949 drastically influenced my father’s generation. Born in Beijing, my father was forced to leave his hometown at a very young age. Throughout his life, all he ever wanted was to reunite with his family back home. After he passed away, I came to understand him better and could not help but feel sorry for people of his generation, who were helplessly thrown to the hands of fate in the course of history.
That’s why I picked this particular subject matter – a group of unusual characters struggling with absurdity in life. Through this film I want to tell their stories, their love and their unspoken sorrows. As we savor this cinematic experience, I wonder if it could help us have salvation should we be thrown to the left at the mercy of fate one day. I hope such absurdity and cruelty will not repeat in history. I hope each of us can find the strength to face ourselves, and our lives, with hope.
Director, Writer, Executive Producer
Doze, NIU Chen-Zer
“Doze” Niu Chen-Zer was born in Taipei and began acting at age of 9. He was the youngest to be nominated in the Golden Horse Award for his leading role in Growing Up in 1983.
His first feature, What on Earth Have I Done Wrong?! won the 2008 FIPRECI Prize at Golden Horse Film Festival, NETPAC Award at Int’l Film Festival Rotterdam.
In 2010, Doze was the director, actor, and writer of his second feature film, Monga. The Film focuses on teenage gangsters with the background of Taiwan in the 80s, and has already proven to be a huge box-office success in Taiwan. His third feature, LOVE, is also very well-receive both in Taiwan and China and hits 33 Million USD at the box office.
2007 What on Earth Have I Done Wrong?!
Born in 1982, Ethan Juan started his career as a model and tried to take on some TV dramas. However, despite proving promising, Ethan’s career failed to take off. It was not until the 2008 TV Drama “Fated to Love You” that he started to gain considerable popularity. The drama hence marked the turning point of his career.
Ethan’s winning of Best Leading Actor at the 47th Golden Horse Awards based on his role as “Monk” in Monga further serves as strong testament to his acting skills, following which he experienced remarkable increase in worth and attention, receiving numerous film invitations from prominent directors.
2012 The Guillotines, LOVE
2008 L-O-V-E, New Boy Jiali, Orz Boyz
2007 Exit No. 6, Brotherhood of Legio
Graduated from the renowned Shanghai Theatre Academy, specializing in performance, Regina WAN made her debut in Mi Ling 1949, playing the notable girlfriend “Yang Liu” in 2006. After that, she started to star in many TV series and received acclaim for her performance in the film Threads of Time and Christmas Rose. Her performance in TV series “Raising Children is Hard” won her the Most Popular Stars nomination in Shanghai TV Festival.
2013 Christmas Rose
2012 Threads of Time
2008 Butterfly Lovers
Chen Jianbin is a Chinese actor of Hui ethnicity active in television. He is most notable for the portrayal of Cao Cao in the 2010 television series “Three Kingdoms,” for which he won the Best Actor Award at the 2011 Seoul International Drama Awards in Seoul, South Korea. In 2011, his portrayal of Emperor in TV series “The Legand of Zhen Huan” won him the Best Actor of Golden Phoenix Awards in China.
2011 “The Legend of Zhen Huan”
2010 “Three Kingdoms”
2006 “Qiao’s Family Compound”
One of the most popular and acclaimed actresses of the younger generation in Taiwan, she has taken part in numerous films, TV series, TV commercials and music videos. In 2010, she won the best actress award of the Taipei Film Awards with her performance in Hear Me. In 2012, she was nominated for the best supporting actress award of The Golden Horse Awards with LOVE.
2013 Campus Confidential
2012 LOVE, Silent Code, Ripples Of Desire
2009 Hear Me
2007 Spider Lilies