That's what Monga, the latest film by Taiwanese director Doze Niu, is about. The title refers to one of Taipei's oldest areas. It was quite well-known for its iniquity before a cleanup in the 1990s. The film is bathed in nostalgia for a time (the mid-1980s) when brotherhood, small mafias and the seedy backstreets of the area were poignant "symbols". It tells a story of friendship, conflict and betrayal among a group of five teenage gangsters.
It may, more or less, remind us of the Hong Kong classic Teddyboy series, where things like street fights, visits to brothels, and a swearing of brotherhood ceremony are indispensable. But, while Monga has lots of gangsters, it's not a gangster film. It's an honest film about being young, and already something of a box office miracle for a Taiwanese film (40 million yuan, a month after its release).
The lead character Mosquito (Mark Chao) "goes astray" and accidentally enters the world of gangsters at a young age. At first he can't understand why people just keep fighting, even killing each other, and why loyalty always comes first, rather than justice or meaning.
Another main character, Monk (Ethan Juan，阮经天), is "a fighter with a brain" who betrays his group later. So, the film's doomed to have a sad, bloody ending-also a beautiful one. Right before Mosquito dies in the end, blood in the air becomes fluttering cherry blossoms, which he's always dreamed of seeing.