Taiwan’s representation in the International Film Circuit: western spectatorship and Taiwan’s national identity

Miércoles 25 de marzo de 2009, por Viviana

EATS 2009 Conference to be held at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, April 2009.

Fifteen years have passed since the concept of “cultural exception” was first coined and yet the present and future state of the film industry – whichever excepting the American – is still under discussion. The dominance hold by the United States, both in economic and cultural terms, over the film industry sets the global situation for the rest of national cinemas. Regional film industries are hence forced to adopt market strategies and cultural policies so as not to succumb to Hollywood dominance.
Faced with globalization and cultural homogenization derived from the entertainment consumption parameters in the capitalist world, international film festivals have come in useful for consolidating alternative cultural trends. Thus, in the contemporary world system, and particularly in western society, the relevance of the awards given by these festivals are a key for the survival of regional cinemas, as festivals collaborate to protect and spread different cultural realities.
This paper tries to enlighten, at least partially, how Taiwan’s film industry has been regarded by western spectatorship through the last 25 years by means of the study of the reception of Taiwan’s contemporary cinema within the international market. Since western scholars and critics have almost exclusively focused their attention on individual filmmakers (Ang Lee, Hou Hsiao-hsien or Tsai Ming-liang), a revision of Taiwan cinema should be undertaken in order to consider it as a whole, and conceivably see it as a new paradigm opposing well established Asian industries such as those of Hong Kong or People’s Republic of China.

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