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The Postcolonial Appearance of Colonial Taiwan: Film and Memory

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This preliminary consideration of genre and memory explores the appearance of colonial Taiwan in the work of Japanese and Taiwan filmmakers. Visuality and identification in cinema, the pragmatic and affective dimensions of memory, and the colonial and postcolonial viewing subject are discussed. Also noted in this essay are the apparatuses of recording and reproducing music and the human voice, ideologies, and time in Taiwan during the twentieth century. The examination of postcolonial and colonial documentaries and postcolonial fiction films suggests that colonial filmmakers often demonstrate a utopian outlook, while postcolonial cinema tends to adopt a dystopian, retrospective gaze. These examinations, in turn, comprise a reflection, on multiple levels, of diegetic register and on the uniquely Taiwanese visual and aural aspects of these multi-lingual films. In summary, this article is an attempt to highlight the powerful and sometimes subversive uses of film in the propagation and circulation of a postcolonial Taiwanese identity which transcends national boundaries, and the polarizing, moribund research that they engender, so that scholars might better understand the postcolonial condition.


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