Internet Guide for Chinese Studies Newsletter
29 Jun 2004, entry by Matthias Arnold

New in IGCS - Film and Movies

A City of Sadness

Ed./Corp.: Abe Mark Nornes and Yeh Yueh-yu, Cinemaspace, Film Studies
Program, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA; 1992.
Language: English.

Self description: "[...] The film's complex representation of history,
combined with Hou's unique style in unraveling political taboo and his
portrayal of family life, inspire us to closely analyze the film. [...]
Because study of mainland China's history, politics and culture has
overshadowed any consideration of Taiwan, we have provided several
layers of contextualization for the reader and film viewer. City of
Sadness is an extremely dense film, and deeply engaged in Taiwanese
history (both past and present). These sections on context proceed with
increasingly narrow focus, beginning with the history of Taiwan,
examining the history of Taiwanese cinema, the 228 incident itself, and
the controversy that the film sparked. Hou's approach to narrative
filmmaking is quite unique and rigorously systematic. The section on
style will explore the contours of his filmmaking with great
specificity, and other sections on violence and writing will attempt to
connect these observations to representations of history. [...] There is
no order to the analysis; it is designed to work on varying levels and
areas. We invite the reader to proceed by whim."

Description: This is an extraordinary in-depth study of Hou
Hsiao-Hsien's well-known movie of 1989. It thoroughly analyses both
matters of style (style, sound, writing, photography), and many facets
of the movie's context - from a short history of taiwan and taiwanese
film over interviews with Hou and a discusuin of violence within the
movie to critical discussions about the film, a comparison between Ozu
and Hou. One can read the chapters by following the table of contents,
but there is also a "Hypermap" available, showing the structure of the
analysis with linked images.

Contents: (1) Table of Contents; (2) Introduction; (3) Conclusion; (4)
Hypermap of Analysis; (5) Authors' Biographies; (6) Bibliography; (7)
Behind City of Sadness (Context I: History of Taiwan; Context II: The
Taiwan New Cinema; Context III: The February 28 Incident; Context IV:
The Controversy); (8) Distant Analysis; (9) STYLE: An Introduction; (10)
Hou Hsiao-hsien Filmography; (11 City of Sadness Credits; (12)
Sound/Writing/Photography; (13) Hou Hsiao-hsien Interviews; (14)
Violence: Seen and Unseen; (15) soc.culture.taiwan Thread on 2.28; (16)
Ozu and Hou: Introduction.


With kind regards,

Hanno E. Lecher



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