Lecture: Shu-Chun Li - Taiwan Literature and Taiwan New Cinema

Shu-Chun Li - Taiwan Literature and Taiwan New Cinema

My lecture will focus on Taiwan New Cinema (1982-1989) and Taiwan literature from 1980s, which represented the Taiwan history and society development.

Taiwanese cinema is known as the New Wave in Taiwan movie history. After 1980, a lot of filmmakers try to get their new perspectives from Taiwan local novels, which wrote about Taiwan complicated history. Influenced by Japan culture left from the colonial era, and went through KMT domination and Cold War period, Taiwan culture and history became complicated and diverse, like hybrid Creole. Taiwan novelists wrote a lot of stories about the complicated social culture from 1970s. Taiwan literature and New Cinema interworked during 1980s.

In 1980s, several fresh, young directors, such as Edward Yang and Yi Chang, cooperated with writers to make new film. In their works, they represented a lot important issues. For example, Taiwan new cinema represented the different cultures between local Taiwanese and emigrants from mainland China after 1949 to discuss the conflict, such as Banana Paradise. Another example about the tensions and the conflicts between the local Taiwanese and the newly arrived Chinese Nationalist government after the end of the Japanese occupation is Hou Hsiao-Hsien's A City of Sadness. Besides, the new wave movies discuss a lot of women’s life and experience, such as The Butcher's Wife wrote by Li Ang, which tells a story how a woman survived and struggled under the home violence, and the novel was translated to a movie by director, Zeng Zhuang Xiang. Another important issue in Taiwan New Cinema is aboriginal life and culture crisis under modernity and KMT government power.

New Wave films are known for their realistic, down-to-earth, and sympathetic portrayals of Taiwanese life. The aim of the movies is represented Taiwan social change such as urbanization, the struggle against poverty, the gender issue, and conflicts with political authority, the confusion of traditional values and modern materialism among young urbanites in the 1980s and 1990s. The New Wave Cinema films are, therefore, a fascinating chronicle of Taiwan's socio-economic and political transformation in modern times. The New Wave Cinema films had interworked with Taiwan literature and create a new era of movie and literature.


Department of East Asian Studies
University of Vienna
AAKH-Campus, Hof 2, Entrance 2.3
Spitalgasse 2
1090 Vienna
T: +43-1-4277-43844

Wed, Jun 15, 2016 / 18:15 -

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