Transnational Connections in Taiwan Cinema of the 21st Century
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Since the 1980s, growing international recognition for Taiwanese auteurs has placed Taiwan on the map of world cinema. However, in the new millennium popular tastes have gradually become a key concern for Taiwanese filmmakers; in the years since 2008, the dramatic box office success of Cape No.7 has further boosted their commercial production. Through four case studies, this thesis investigates four major filmmaking strategies among Taiwanese filmmakers, seeking to provide a wide-ranging picture of Taiwan cinema since the turn of the century. These case studies represent different approaches to filmmaking and indicate the different audiences that Taiwanese filmmakers may address. Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon not only demonstrates that Asian films can achieve international box office success but also raises issues of cultural authenticity and cultural translation. Chapter One describes how the global success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has promoted transnational co-production in Asia. The Hollywood-funded project Double Vision and Taiwanese filmmakers’ engagement in intraregional co-production are outlined in Chapter Two, examining the development of pan-Asian co-production in Taiwan cinema. The immense popularity of Cape No.7 in Taiwan reflects Taiwanese viewers’ demand for cultural products with local colour. Chapter Three views this domestically-produced film as a local response to cultural globalisation and revisits the significance of nativist imagination to the production and consumption of contemporary Taiwan cinema. The last chapter examines auteur-oriented filmmaking in this area and underscores the dependence of art cinema in Taiwan on the film festival economy and international niche markets. These case studies highlight the influence of transnational connections on the production, consumption and content of contemporary Taiwan cinema, showing that Taiwan cinema should be understood in a transnational context.
Lim, Song Hwee
PhD in Film