As the Pacific War ends with the capitulation of Japan in 1945, large territories occupied until then by the Japanese Imperial forces are liberated, among them Korea, Formosa and large parts of Southern China. The latter will see the emergence of a violent civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists, with Mao Zedong’s Red Army on the one hand, and the Kuomintang of Chiang Kai-shek on the other. History will teach us that Mao’s army was victorious, and the Nationalists fled to the island of Formosa (now Taiwan). Here, on March 1, 1950, Chiang Kai-shek, supported heavily by the US, was proclaimed President of (nationalist) China. However, prior to this, on October 1st, 1949, Mao had already installed himself on the mainland as the President of China’s People’s Republic. Quite naturally, he ended up by being accepted by the int’l community. Today, long after their historical leader’s departure, the two quarrelling entities have started to talk to each other.
But history books will not mention the fate of the 3rd, nor the one of the 5th Army of the nationalist forces. While retreating to Taiwan, Chiang Kai-shek had ordered these two armies to cross the Chinese border into Thailand and Burma, waiting for the order to « retake the mainland ». But the order to attack never came, and Chiang Kai-shek’s « Lost Army », soldiers, arms and equipment included, stays there to this day.
This surprising Documentary reveals this unknown reality for the very first time and gives us the opportunity to discover how the soldiers of this Army have lived in the shadow of an « oversight ». Composed by moving interviews with officers and ordinary soldiers, accompanied by never seen archives, this film turns us into witnesses of a weird, generation-long process of combatants needing to hide in order to exist. The documentary also tackles the problem of the descendant’s future: China denies their existence, and as stateless children, their choice is cruelly limited to stay in exile, or to « return » home to Taiwan, a country they have never seen.