A film-by-film introduction to Taiwan cinema and cultures

Table of contents

A Note on Transliteration and Translation
1. Curating Taiwan Cinema in the 21st Century
Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh, Darrell William Davis, and Wenchi Lin
2. Our Neighbors (1963): Historiography of Home and Emerging Realism in Post-1949 Taiwan
Guo-juin Hong
3. The Best Secret Agent (1964): The First Female Spy Hero of Taiyu pian
Chunchi Wang
4. The Bride Who Has Returned from Hell (1965): Cosmopolitan Vernacularism
Ping-hui Liao
5. Hsi Shih: The Beauty of Beauties (1965): The Grand Mirage of Taiwanese Cinema
James Udden
6. Dangerous Youth (1969): Bricolage in Taiwanese-language Films
Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh
7. Home, Sweet Home (1970): Home Is Where One Belongs
I-In Chiang
8. The Young Ones (1973): The Double Lives of a Cold War Wenyi Melodrama
Zhen Zhang
9. Victory (1976): Symbolic Analysis of the Film in Three Parts
James Wicks
10. Legend of the Mountain (1979): Rediscovering King Hu’s Land of Wayward Ghosts
Michael Berry
11. Kuei-mei, A Woman (1985): Female Mobility and Modern Homemaking
Tingwu Cho
12. Taipei Story (1985): Floundering in the City of Masonry and Glass
Ling Zhang
13. Daughter of the Nile (1987): Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Dark Pop Experiment
Jason McGrath
14. Strawman (1987): Black Comedy, Bromance, and Prosthetic Memory
Corrado Neri
15. A Brighter Summer Day (1991): Taiwan Nocturne
Darrell William Davis
16. Super Citizen Ko (1994): A Cartography of Memory and Oblivion
Wafa Ghermani
17. Goodbye South, Goodbye (1996): Another Gangster Movie?
Shiao-Ying Shen
18. Buddha Bless America (1996): Figures of Translation
Nicole Huang
19. Tonight Nobody Goes Home (1996): Homecoming and Women’s Self-Awakening at a Time of Family and National Crisis
Mei-Hsuan Chiang
20. Boys for Beauty (1999): Participatory Mode, Camp Aesthetic, Bentu Discourse
Shi-Yan Chao
21. Three Times (2005): Hou Hsiao-hsien's Cinematic Poetics of Mise-en-song
Wenchi Lin
22. God, Man, Dog (2007): Migrants in Glocalized Spaces
Kate Chiwen Liu
23. Cape No.7 (2008): A Taiwan Structure of Feeling
Chris Berry
24. Drifting Flowers (2008): Trans-reality and the Margins of the Shadow
Helen Grace
25. Visage (2009): That Obscure Face of the Muses
Beth Tsai
26. Monga (2010): Affect and Structure
Earl Jackson
27. Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above (2013): The Most Influential Documentary Film
Andy Birtwistle and Kuei-fen Chiu
28. Godspeed (2016): Memories, Transindividuation, and Becoming Taiwanese
Victor Fan
29. True Emotion Behind the Wall (2017): Taste of Salty Chicken
Darrell William Davis
30. The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful (2017): Modernity, Chinese-ness and National Allegory
Hsien-hao Liao
31. The Great Buddha+ (2017): Tracing the Limits of the Visible
Carlos Rojas
32. Small Talk (2017): Critiquing Heteronormativity, Resisting Homonormativity
Tze-lan Deborah Sang
33. On Happiness Road (2017): Taiwanese Images and Screen Memory in Coming-of-Age Animation
Laura Jo-han Wen
Chinese Glossary


Thirty-two New Takes on Taiwan Cinema covers thirty-two films from Taiwan, addressing a flowering of new talent, moving from art film to genre pictures, and nonfiction. Beyond the conventional framework of privileging “New and Post-New Cinema,” or prominence of auteurs or single films, this volume is a comprehensive, judicious take on Taiwan cinema that fills gaps in the literature, offers a renewed historiography, and introduces new creative force and voices of Taiwan’s moving image culture to produce a leading and accessible work on Taiwan film and culture.

Film-by-film is conceived as the main carrier of moving picture imagery for a majority of viewers, across the world. The curation offers an array of formal, historical, genre, sexual, social, and political frames, which provide a rich brew of contexts. This surfeit of meanings is carried by individual films, one by one, which breaks down abstractions into narrative bites and outsized emotions.

Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh is Lam Wong Yiu Wah Chair Professor and Dean of Faculty of Arts at Lingnan University.

Darrell William Davis is Honorary Professor in the Visual Studies Department at Lingnan University.

Wenchi Lin is Professor of English and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at National Central University, Taiwan.

“With its exceptional scope and depth, this extraordinary volume’s contribution as a reference source for Taiwan’s contemporary cinema is unsurpassed. Through thirty-two carefully curated films, the book tracks Taiwan’s tortuous trajectory from Cold-War isolation to today’s more globally connected world—one that better appreciates Taiwan’s innovative achievements while still denying its statehood. The engaging, masterfully written chapters encompass an impressive array of diversely conceptualized methodologies; the result is destined to expand and reconfigure the landscape of Taiwan film (and cultural) studies in the English-speaking world.”
—Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang, The University of Texas at Austin

- Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang

Thirty-two New Takes on Taiwan Cinema skillfully teases out the multiple threads of Taiwan cinema over the past six decades. It identifies the leading figures of different genres, styles, and generations; describes ideological and affective agendas; and ponders the consequences of cinema as a unique manifestation of the island as it encounters the world. Historically informed and methodologically engaged, this book will be an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the cultural and visual dynamics of Taiwan in the Sinophone and global contexts.”
—David Wang, Harvard University

- David Wang

Thirty-two New Takes on Taiwan Cinema is a truly mammoth assembly of thought-provoking chapters written by some of the world’s leading experts on the subject. This book covers a broad range of auteurs, genres, styles, and themes to reflect the diversity of Taiwan’s cinematic output. It also seeks to expand the canon of critically lauded works by legendary filmmakers so that heretofore overlooked or misunderstood films, including those by up-and-coming artists working outside the industry, receive the attention that they deserve.”
—David Scott Diffrient, Colorado State University

- David Scott Diffrient

"Beyond the book’s educational value, I believe that the editors and authors of this book successfully arouse readers’ curiosity about the details of Taiwanese society, history, and its struggles, through thoughtful analysis of these films. . . . This book is thus more than a book on Taiwanese film: it curates Taiwan’s history and struggles through the cinematic lens."
Asian Studies Review

- Julie Yu-Wen Chen

"32 New Takes on Taiwan Cinema marks an exciting advancement in the (English-language) scholarship on Taiwan cinema, presenting informative background information, thematic groupings, historical contextualizations, and accessible film interpretations that will be of interest to scholars, students, and general readers."
Modern Chinese Literature & Culture

- Ming-Yeh T. Rawnsley

"All in all, Thirty-two New Takes on Taiwan Cinema is a book that many cinephiles and scholars of Taiwan cinema have eagerly anticipated. I am confident that it will be invaluable to researchers and educators in the fields of Taiwan studies and cinema studies. By delving into the representative films studied in this anthology, readers should gain a profound understanding of the trajectory of Taiwan's sociopolitical transition over the past 70 years and its corresponding impact on the development of its cinema."

- Daw-Ming Lee

Read: Review in Modern Chinese Literature & Culture | Link