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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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Gender Negotiation in Song Cunshou’s Story of Mother and Taiwan Cinema of the Early 1970s

Gender Negotiation in Song Cunshou’s Story of Mother and Taiwan Cinema of the Early 1970s

(p.79) 4 Gender Negotiation in Song Cunshou’s Story of Mother and Taiwan Cinema of the Early 1970s
Transnational Representations

James Wicks

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter examines the representation of gender identity and negotiation in Song Cunshou’s Story of Mother (1972) in order to make two primary observations. First, this early 1970s wenyi, or “literary art,” film released with state approval in Taiwan represents passive males who attempt to earn their right to be worthy patriarchs; women are portrayed as active participants whose actions are acceptable so long as they follow the rule of their fathers. Second, I propose that this model of representing gender changes very little through the middle of the decade, despite numerous social transformations on Taiwan’s political stage. This case is clarified by comparisons with Bai Jingrui’s Goodbye Darling (1970) and Li Xing’s mid-1970s film Land of the Undaunted (1975). Sequence breakdowns of two of the films are presented in order to consider narrative, structural, and aesthetic qualities. Theoretically, the essay re-evaluates Shu-mei Shih’s text Visuality and Identity: Sinophone Articulations Across the Pacific, which states that all negotiations in highly volatile situations are always gender negotiations; thus, patriarchal national systems might be undermined by disjunctions and contestations in the cultural and political arenas. Taken as a whole, the work of an important and engaging director, Song Cunshou, emerges as a primary reference point for a study of cinema in a complex, intriguing, transitional period in Taiwan’s history of the silver screen.

Keywords:   Song Cunshou, Li Xing, Bai Jingrui, Taiwan Cinema, 1970s

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