label r shifted
Session C4
Politics of the everyday: Taiwanese-language cinema of the 1950s–1960s
蔡明燁 Ming-Yeh Rawnsley
Centre of Taiwan Studies, SOAS, University of London, UK

This paper addresses the social and cultural values of Taiwanese-language cinema (or Hoklo topolect films, taiyupian) of the 1950s and the 1960s. Although this cinema was composed primarily of commercial films that were produced cheaply to make a quick profit, it clearly struck a chord with local audiences to be able to reign supreme in the domestic film market for over a decade. As the rise of taiyupiancoincided with the island’s transition from a rural to urban economy, it can be argued that these films articulated and mediated a Taiwanese experience of approaching modernization -- politics of the everyday -- at the time. This paper makes use of the recently digitalized taiyupianto analyze the cinema’s representation of, and perceived challenges to, modernity, such as the breakdown of kinship systems, the threat of moral corruption, and the pursuit of materialism. Through plot design and onscreen solutions to family crises, the films reveal the struggle of their makers and their intended audiences to reconcile different sets of conflicting values in a changing society.