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Melancholy DriftMarking Time in Chinese Cinema$
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Jean Ma

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789888028054

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888028054.001.0001

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Time without Measure, Sadness without Cure

Time without Measure, Sadness without Cure

(p.19) 1 Time without Measure, Sadness without Cure
Melancholy Drift

Jean Ma

Hong Kong University Press

Hou Hsiao-hsien's renowned trilogy of films on modern Taiwanese history—A City of Sadness, The Puppetmaster, and Good Men, Good Women—all travel back in time through the subjective portals of dream and reverie, fantasy, story worlds, memory, and intoxication. The first film of this trilogy derives its formal logic from the uneven temporality of memory; the second, whose Chinese title translates literally as “drama, dream, life”, is described by the director as “dream-like, like a wonderland”; and the third has been aptly characterized by one critic as a thoroughly “nocturnal” film, with its main character passing constantly through states of sleep and awakening, daydreaming, and inebriation. The close analysis here begins from the premise that these works offer important insights on the conjunction of memory, media, violence, and nationhood in contemporary discussions of the posthistoire.

Keywords:   Taiwanese history, Hou Hsiao-hsien, memory, nocturnal film, A City of Sadness, The Puppetmaster

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