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Transnational RepresentationsThe State of Taiwan Film in the 1960s and 70s$
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James Wicks

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9789888208500

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888208500.001.0001

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Projecting a State That Does Not Exist:

Projecting a State That Does Not Exist:

The Politics of Migration in Bai Jingrui’s 1970 Film Home Sweet Home

(p.53) 3 Projecting a State That Does Not Exist
Transnational Representations

James Wicks

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter argues that Home Sweet Home’s central concern is the politics, both aesthetic and ideological, of depicting migration within a narrative film. More specifically, this film presents the official state position that the Chinese Nationalist Party held regarding students from Taiwan who studied abroad in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This claim is based on the film’s release by a state studio, CMPC, under state supervision and censorship, in order to further the state’s ideological project through visual media. In order to shed light on the nuances and inflections of Home Sweet Home, and frame it within a wider context, this chapter also discusses two contemporary films that represent migration on the global stage: Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Angst essen Seele auf, 1974) and Ousmane Sembène’s Black Girl (La Noire de …, 1966). Common features in these films include exquisite cinematic imagery juxtaposed with complex protagonists who create a space for individuality and expressions of subjectivity. Close readings of these three films help illuminate the ways that Bai Jingrui’s aesthetic choices work both in conjunction and disjunction with the intentions of the Taiwan government in 1970.

Keywords:   Migration, Comparative Film, Transnational Film, Taiwan Cinema, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Ousmane Sembène, Bai Jingrui

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