Poetics and politics of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s films

    Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

    Abstract

    Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien's films always have abrupt endings, which invite a reconstruction of the story piece by piece. These endings epitomize his film art - detached, distant and, at the same time, quotidian and compassionate. This style not only bears Hou's directorial signature but also encapsulates "Hou Hsiao-hsien" as a discursive object in Taiwan. In Taiwan's film history, no other director has ever been bestowed with as many international awards as Hou; and in the 1980s and 1990s, no other film director evoked as many polemics as Hou did. He is treated to harsh scrutiny by critics in Taiwan. What Hou Hsiao-hsien signifies at home is never truly about film, or film studies. Instead, the contradictory meanings that arise from him and his works represent a cobweb of authenticity, commodity, and discursive power. "Hou Hsiao-hsien," therefore, is a key to understanding Taiwanese cinema, its form, reception, and politics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61-76
    Number of pages16
    JournalPost Script
    Volume20
    Issue number2-3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001

    Fingerprint

    Poetics
    Taiwan
    Taiwanese
    Discursive
    1990s
    Art Film
    History of Film
    Commodities
    Film Director
    Contradictory
    Cinema
    1980s
    Quotidian
    Signature
    Reception
    Scrutiny
    Film Studies
    Authenticity

    Bibliographical note

    This article also published in S. H. Lu and E. Y.-y. Yeh (eds.) (2005), Chinese-language film: Historiography, poetics, politics (pp. 163-185). Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press.

    Cite this

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    title = "Poetics and politics of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s films",
    abstract = "Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien's films always have abrupt endings, which invite a reconstruction of the story piece by piece. These endings epitomize his film art - detached, distant and, at the same time, quotidian and compassionate. This style not only bears Hou's directorial signature but also encapsulates {"}Hou Hsiao-hsien{"} as a discursive object in Taiwan. In Taiwan's film history, no other director has ever been bestowed with as many international awards as Hou; and in the 1980s and 1990s, no other film director evoked as many polemics as Hou did. He is treated to harsh scrutiny by critics in Taiwan. What Hou Hsiao-hsien signifies at home is never truly about film, or film studies. Instead, the contradictory meanings that arise from him and his works represent a cobweb of authenticity, commodity, and discursive power. {"}Hou Hsiao-hsien,{"} therefore, is a key to understanding Taiwanese cinema, its form, reception, and politics.",
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    Poetics and politics of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s films. / YEH, Yueh Yu, Emilie.

    In: Post Script, Vol. 20, No. 2-3, 01.01.2001, p. 61-76.

    Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

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    PY - 2001/1/1

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    N2 - Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien's films always have abrupt endings, which invite a reconstruction of the story piece by piece. These endings epitomize his film art - detached, distant and, at the same time, quotidian and compassionate. This style not only bears Hou's directorial signature but also encapsulates "Hou Hsiao-hsien" as a discursive object in Taiwan. In Taiwan's film history, no other director has ever been bestowed with as many international awards as Hou; and in the 1980s and 1990s, no other film director evoked as many polemics as Hou did. He is treated to harsh scrutiny by critics in Taiwan. What Hou Hsiao-hsien signifies at home is never truly about film, or film studies. Instead, the contradictory meanings that arise from him and his works represent a cobweb of authenticity, commodity, and discursive power. "Hou Hsiao-hsien," therefore, is a key to understanding Taiwanese cinema, its form, reception, and politics.

    AB - Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien's films always have abrupt endings, which invite a reconstruction of the story piece by piece. These endings epitomize his film art - detached, distant and, at the same time, quotidian and compassionate. This style not only bears Hou's directorial signature but also encapsulates "Hou Hsiao-hsien" as a discursive object in Taiwan. In Taiwan's film history, no other director has ever been bestowed with as many international awards as Hou; and in the 1980s and 1990s, no other film director evoked as many polemics as Hou did. He is treated to harsh scrutiny by critics in Taiwan. What Hou Hsiao-hsien signifies at home is never truly about film, or film studies. Instead, the contradictory meanings that arise from him and his works represent a cobweb of authenticity, commodity, and discursive power. "Hou Hsiao-hsien," therefore, is a key to understanding Taiwanese cinema, its form, reception, and politics.

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