Disclosing the State of Fear in Contemporary Taiwan – The Ambiguity in Taiwanese Film Noir, Who Killed Cock Robin


Film noir, a genre named by French critics in the 1950s, has been attracting the interests of academics and the public since then. Although the base of the genre’s production begins to thrive prominently in English-speaking countries and France, film companies in other countries, regardless of their individual film’s differences of success, have also plunged in the pool of noir’s mass production to excite the audience with dark allurement. Such practices, if inscribed with social indictment, can be provocative and problematic. This paper anchors its root to decode the ambiguity of a Taiwanese film noir, Who Killed Cock Robin (2016), to elucidate the film’s ambivalent contribution-- while on one hand, the film does employ the techniques to enrich the film’s dark milieu to symbolize Taiwanese society as grim, fearful and deceptive; on the other hand, despite its director actively critiques the problems in Taiwan’s society, the film falters halfway into a kitsch by overly manipulating the noir essence to please the audience which dis-empower its social criticism. But such ambiguity of posing itself paradoxically and misusing the genre ironically exacts the true fear of contemporary Taiwan-- a masquerading process to cover the real danger with sugar frosting. As neither character’s recount of the crime in the film is assured to be reliable, nor is the film itself trustworthy.

Author Information
Julien I Chung Chang, Beijing Institute of Technology, Zhuhai, China

Paper Information
Conference: EuroMedia2018
Stream: Film and Literature: Artistic Correspondence

This paper is part of the EuroMedia2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon