(Re)imagining and (Re)negotiating the Taiwanese Sense of Self: “The Taipei Experience” in the Post Taiwan New Cinema


Since the Emergence of the Post Taiwan New Cinema, advocates of the Taiwanese New Cinema’s recuperation of “The Taiwanese Experience” has criticized the postmodernized Taipei cityscape in those PTNC films as a crisis in reestablishing a sense of Taiwanese identity. From a postcolonial standpoint, the contemplation on the PTNC’s cinematic engagement with the debates on Taiwanese cultural and political subjectivity will, in fact, demonstrate the inseparable connection between the TNC and the PTNC, and moreover, between “The Taiwanese Experience” and “The Taipei Experience” inscribed upon each cinematic movement. Therefore, this paper, from the perspective of a generation of Taiwanese people with no memory of “The Taiwanese Experience,” seeks to demonstrate that the cinematic layerings of different phases of Taiwan’s past and present can illuminate the emergence of “The Taipei Experience” through the erasure of “The Taiwanese Experience,” and thus to reevaluate “The Taipei Experience” as an alternative embodiment of its predecessor. This paper will focus on Taipei-based urban films—“Terrorizer,” “Vive L’Amour,” “Good Men, Good Women,” “Super Citizen Ko,” and “Connection by Fate”—that manifest the spectrality of Taiwanese history. Their renderings of Taipei as a haunted city, a site of temporal and spatial palimpsests, position “The Taipei Experience” as the core contending against the Kuomintang’s One-Chinese narrative. Going beyond the TNC’s refiguration of Taipei as a site of cultural hybridization, the PTNC transfigures Taipei as a layered postcolonial city of historical inscriptions, consequently paving the way for an innovative perspective to (re)imagine and (re)negotiate the Taiwanese sense of self.

Author Information
Ellen Y. Chang, New York University, USA

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2015
Stream: Humanities - History

This paper is part of the ACAH2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon