New Taiwanese Cinema in Focus

New Taiwanese Cinema in Focus: Moving Within and Beyond the Frame

Flannery Wilson
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 200
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt9qdr57
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  • Book Info
    New Taiwanese Cinema in Focus
    Book Description:

    IPlaces Taiwanese cinema from the 1980s onwards in both national and transnational contextsn the Taiwanese film industry, the dichotomy between art-house and commercially viable films is heavily emphasized by both scholars and the local media. This stems from two separate desires on the part of filmmakers: art-house filmmakers in Taiwan are largely dependent on international distributors for funding, and, as a result, they aim to reach international audiences. On the other hand, mainstream commercial films in Taiwan tend to be produced without international export in mind. On a textual level, however, this dichotomy is not so clear-cut. Although the difference between art-house and commercial film may be very real in financial terms, this is not necessarily the case in the context of the films themselves. These relationships create the need for a new way of thinking about transnationalism altogether.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-8202-7
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. vii-x)
  5. TRADITIONS IN WORLD CINEMA
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-13)

    To this day, Taiwan remains a post-colonial region with an identity crisis. Like Hong Kong, Taiwan was a formally colonised region (an island nation) that is now independent. But, unlike Hong Kong which was a colony of the British – a distant nation – Taiwan was a colony of neighbouring Japan. The Chinese Civil War, a fight between loyalists to the Republic of China (the Kuomintang or KMT) and the Communist Party of China (the CPC), began in 1927 and did not end fully until 1950. At the conclusion of the war, China divided into the Republic of China (the ROC) in...

  7. 1. CHARTING THE COURSE: DEFINING THE TAIWANESE CINEMATIC ‘TRADITION’
    (pp. 14-46)

    Contemporary Taiwanese cinema (from the 1980s to the present) must be understood in relation to, and in reaction against, earlier forms of film-making on the island. Though I do not consider the large body of films that were produced between 1895 and the early 1980s to comprise the New Taiwanese cinematic ‘tradition’, one cannot understand the context out of which this tradition arose without looking back into history. One must look beyond the frame, so to speak, to see within it.

    The earliest films which were produced on the island of Taiwan were Japanese products, examples of ‘imperial Japanese film...

  8. 2. TAIWANESE–ITALIAN CONJUGATIONS: THE FRACTURED STORYTELLING OF EDWARD YANG’S THE TERRORIZERS AND MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI’S BLOW-UP
    (pp. 47-75)

    Frederic Jameson describes Edward Yang’s (楊德昌) films as miniature showcases for alienation in a modernised Taipei – as spaces in which conventional plots and characters no longer exist – spaces in which linear narrative is replaced with moments of coincidence and points of intersection. Yang also makes explicit use of voiceovers and dialogue to express the ‘heaviness’ of life in modern-day Taipei, unlike other Taiwanese art house directors, such as Tsai Ming-liang. The combination of these factors forms the basis of Yang’s style: though he does film space unconventionally, as Jameson suggests, he also relies heavily on dialogue or ‘words’ more generally....

  9. 3. MAPPING HOU HSIAO-HSIEN’S VISUALITY: SETTING, SILENCE AND THE INCONGRUENCE OF TRANSLATION IN FLIGHT OF THE RED BALLOON
    (pp. 76-96)

    In his 2001 text,An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking, Hamid Naficy defines his concept of ‘accented cinema’ as: ‘fragmented, multilingual, epistolary, self-reflexive . . . amphibolic, doubled, crossed’ and so on. For Naficy, ‘accented cinema’ contains: ‘. . . lost characters; subject matter and themes that involve journeying, historicity, identity, and displacement’ (4). At the end of this long list of adjectives, Naficy adds that accented cinema is often a collective undertaking (that is, it is often co-produced), and that the films themselves tend to reflect the film-maker’s identity as an exile or migrant.

    In an interview with...

  10. 4. TSAI MING-LIANG’S DISJOINTED CONNECTIVITY AND LONELY INTERTEXTUALITY
    (pp. 97-125)

    Tsai Ming-liang’s inclination towards loneliness, alienation and ‘slowness’ in his films can be traced back to the earlier years of his life and career. Born in Kuching, Malaysia in 1957, Tsai spent a great deal of his youth attending local screenings of international films with his grandparents (Hughes, n.p.). Tsai has commented that his ‘ slow-paced childhood’ allowed him to observe life in his home town from a leisurely perspective, arguably, according to Darren Hughes,¹ the same perspective that characterises the slow style of his films. At the age of twenty, Tsai moved to Taipei and entered the Chinese Culture...

  11. 5. THE CHINESE/HOLLYWOOD AESTHETIC OF ANG LEE: ‘WESTERNIZED’, CAPITALIST . . . AND BOX OFFICE GOLD
    (pp. 126-149)

    Hollywood was kind to Ang Lee (李安) in 2013. At the 85th Academy Awards, Lee won his second Oscar for Best Director, sinceBrokeback Mountainin 2005, forLife of Pi(released in theatres in late 2012). Including the nomination ofLife of Pifor Best Picture, this was the fifth Oscar nomination of Lee’s career. The win was regarded as a triumph, not only for Lee but for Taiwan more generally. President Ma Ying-jeou thanked Lee for ‘pushing Taiwan toward the world’; adding in the same congratulatory message, ‘Taiwanese are proud of you’.¹ Towards the end of his acceptance...

  12. 6. FILMING DISAPPEARANCE OR RENEWAL? THE EVER-CHANGING REPRESENTATIONS OF TAIPEI IN CONTEMPORARY TAIWANESE CINEMA
    (pp. 150-164)

    In the late summer of 2011, Taiwan’s National Cultural Association awarded Presidential Culture Awards to two members of the film industry: ‘veteran’ director Hou Hsiao-hsien and Lee Lieh, an actress turned producer. It was the first time that anyone from the film industry had been chosen for the culture award. Though Lee Lieh was relatively new to producing in 2011, she had already produced two major blockbuster hits for Taiwan:Orz Boys/Jiong nan hai(directed by Yang Yache, 2008) andMonga/Bang-kah(directed by Doze Niu, 2010).Monga,released during the Chinese New Year period, grossed NT $270 million ($8.4 million)...

  13. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 165-169)

    New Taiwan Cinema represents modernity by turning the present into history, all the while without becoming stale. In short, New Taiwan Cinema is timeless but, at the same time, speaks to the present; the best of this type of cinema is specific to the Taiwanese experience but retains a certain element of universality. If the defining feature of New Wave Cinema is its effort to break the silence of the past by aestheticising a collective experience, then the defining feature of Taiwan New Cinema, more generally, is its ability to reinvigorate a dying industry. Taiwan New Cinema is not defined...

  14. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 170-176)
  15. FILMOGRAPHY
    (pp. 177-178)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 179-188)