Cinema, Historiography, and Identities in Taiwan: Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s A City of Sadness
Author: Rawnsley, Ming-Yeh T.
Source: Asian Cinema, Volume 22, Number 2, February 2012 , pp. 196-213(18)
Abstract:In 1989, Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s A City of Sadness won the Golden Lion Award in Venice. As the first Taiwanese movie that received the highest recognition by a major European film festival, A City of Sadness attracted serious media attention on the island. Nevertheless, Taiwan viewers’ immediate reaction towards the film was polarized. A City of Sadness sparked a fierce cultural debate about Taiwan’s past and its relationship with mainland China. In this article Ming-Yeh T. Rawnsley explores how Taiwan’s historiography and identities are represented in A City of Sadness from two dimensions: 1. the external historical context of the film and its subject matter the Incident of 1947, commonly known as 2/28, when a random accident on the street turned into a near-revolution, resulting in the killing of thousands of citizens in Taiwan by the Nationalist army. And 2. the internal textual analysis which demonstrates how languages, narrative structure, and Hou’s authorial style are adopted in the film to recreate Taiwan’s collective but hidden memory. Rawnsley will demonstrate why and how A City of Sadness has achieved an iconic status in articulating Taiwan’s contested identities and reflecting the development of culture and democratization on the island.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Leeds
Publication date: February 2012
- Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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