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Transnational Representations

Transnational Representations: The State of Taiwan Film in the 1960s and 1970s

James Wicks
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Transnational Representations
    Book Description:

    Transnational Representations focuses on a neglected period in Taiwan film scholarship: the golden age of the 1960s and 1970s, which saw innovations in plot, theme, and genre as directors highlighted the complexities of Taiwan’s position in the world. Combining a concise overview of Taiwan film history with analysis of representative Taiwan films, the book reveals the internal and external struggles Taiwan experienced in its search for global identity. This cross-disciplinary study adopts a transnational approach which presents Taiwan’s film industry as one that is intertwined with that of mainland China, challenging previous accounts that present the two industries as parallel yet separate. The book also offers productive comparisons between Taiwan films and contemporary films elsewhere representing the politics of migration, and between the antecedents of new cinema movements and Taiwan New Cinema of the 1980s.

    eISBN: 978-988-8313-20-4
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xxiv)

    There are few more fascinating methods for investigating the ways in which Taiwan’s Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, KMT) Government defined itself as the representative government of all of China in the 1960s and 1970s than to consider its state-sanctioned film industry.¹ The films produced by the state represent ideas of national unity and a glorious “homeland” during decades that witnessed intense transformations in multiple arenas: in film with the rise and eventual decline in popularity of Taiwan cinema in Southeast Asia, in literature with thexiangtu(nativist) literature debates, in the economy with the emergence of factories and small business...

  5. 1 Framing Taiwan Cinema: Perspectives on History in Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Three Times
    (pp. 1-22)

    Perhaps the film that provides the best inroad into both Taiwan cinema of the 1960s and 1970s, and Taiwan cinema in general, is Hou Hsiao-hsien’s 2005 filmThree Times. The film presents a view of the 1960s by a director who is certainly a product of Taiwan’s Cold War era and one whose current work can be viewed as an aesthetic response to Taiwan’s preceding filmmaking traditions. Consider the image below. Taken at a retrospective exhibition of director Li Xing’s work at the Golden Horse Film Awards in 2008, the picture reveals the notes that Hou Hsiao-hsien wrote while serving...

  6. 2 Two Stage Brothers: Tracing a Common Heritage in Xie Jin and Li Xing’s Early 1960s Films
    (pp. 23-52)

    What could be more different than films from Mainland China and from Taiwan during the Cold War, a time when state-controlled media on both sides of the Taiwan Strait reinforced each government’s extreme ideological claims? Consider that in 1956, while China supported the Soviet Union’s decision to crush the Hungarian uprising, Taiwan’s film industry publicly screened films in order to champion the Hungarian rebels. Perhaps it was this gesture that led the People’sDaily(Renmin ribao) to report in 1957 that the film industry in Taiwan was “despicable” since it was organized by bureaucratic officials and “gangsters.”¹ Not to be...

  7. 3 Projecting a State That Does Not Exist: The Politics of Migration in Bai Jingrui’s 1970 Film Home Sweet Home
    (pp. 53-78)

    The signature state film of Taiwan in 1970 is none other than director Bai Jingrui’s (1931–1997)Home Sweet Home(Jia zai Taibei).¹ The film won domestic official approval at the state-endorsed Golden Horse Awards for Best Film, Best Actress and Best Editing. Overseas, the film garnered acclaim at the 16th Asian Film Festival for Best Actress and Best Screenplay.² And similar to Taiwan’s “Healthy Realist” (jiankang xieshizhuyi) state films of the late 1960s and early 1970s, such asOyster Girl(Ke nü, dir. Li Xing and Li Jia, 1964) andBeautiful Duckling(Yangya renjia, dir. Li Xing, 1965),Home...

  8. 4 Gender Negotiation in Song Cunshou’s Story of Mother and Taiwan Cinema of the Early 1970s
    (pp. 79-100)

    In 1975 the Taiwan government’s most prestigious film prize, the Golden Horse for best film, was awarded to Director Li Xing for hisLand of the Undaunted(Wu tu wu min), a period piece produced in thezhanzheng wenyi jupian(literary art war film) tradition. The film, set in China during the Japanese Occupation period, traces both the life and times of inspirational Headmaster Du (Wang Yin) who will not give in to his Japanese oppressors, and of his students and teachers, who must make their own difficult choices between preserving the dignity of China or giving in to the...

  9. Conclusion: Transnationalism and the Structure of Feeling of Taiwan Cinema in the Late 1970s
    (pp. 101-128)

    The story of Taiwan cinema in the early 1960s begins in many ways with Li Xing, and that of the late 1970s concludes with Li Xing and his dominant films. This chapter again focuses on his films as case studies in order to both re-address the main ideas presented in previous chapters and develop three preliminary observations on the state of Taiwan cinema at the end of the 1970s, a pivotal moment in Taiwan film history. In the first of my observations I juxtapose Frederic Jameson’s perspective of global capital in his essay “Remapping Taipei” with Yvonne Chang’s argument regarding...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 129-148)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 149-160)
  12. Index
    (pp. 161-168)