How Does “A City of Sadness” Play a Role in Uncovering Taiwanese Contemporary History?

The most critically acclaimed of Taiwanese film director, Hou Hsiao-hsien, his work, "A City of Sadness' (1989), portrayed a family caught in conflicts between the local Taiwanese population and the newly arrived Chinese Nationalist government led by the Kuomintang (KMT, Chinese Nationalist Party) after the Second World War. It was considered groundbreaking for broaching the long-standing political taboos that surrounded the subject, and it became a major success despite its seemingly uncommercial nature. The pioneering film also pierced the limits of local historical self-investigation and for the first time focus was cast on the issues of the powerless class. Hou's work explored the brutal massacre known today as the " 228 Incident" that took place throughout Taiwan during the earlier months of 1947. This political Pandora's Box opened in A City of Sadness resulted in suppression and criticism from the ruling party. Times have now changed, however, and the abolishment of martial law meant that for the first time there would be no adverse consequences for filmmakers and their narratives could now flourish organically. On the other side, there were many who were encouraged and inspired by Hou's works and their eyes were opened and they were able to reflect on a previously unknown historical event. This paper will research how does "A City of Sadness" play a role in Uncovering Taiwanese contemporary history during the period of transition from authoritarianism to liberalism.

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Author Information
Wu-Tso Lin, Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taiwan

Paper Information Conference: MediAsia2018
Stream: Film Criticism and Theory

Added on Friday, October 12th, 2018
The full paper is not available for this title

Posted by amp21