Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period

12-8-2017

Degree Program

Chinese

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2018

Month Degree Awarded

February

Abstract

As one of the most prominent Taiwanese film director, Wei Te-sheng’s films have been the focus of attention from publicity and film prize committees. Most of his film works focus on Japan-Taiwan theme. Based on auteur theory, this thesis examines the colonial and postcolonial relationship between Japanese and Taiwanese by analyzing the Taiwanese film director Wei Te-sheng’s three films, Cape No.7 (2008), Seediq Bale (2011), and Kano (2014). From the historical view in terms of the colonial relationship between Taiwan and Japan, this thesis reveals the Taiwanese’s ambivalence toward its ex-colonizer and explores the reasons behind the particular and complex relationship between Taiwanese and Japanese colonists. Since decentralization is the most noticeable manifestation of such colonial and postcolonial relationship, this thesis also probes into the reason why decentralization evokes nostalgic feelings among Taiwanese.

This thesis interprets Wei’s film based on auteur theory. Auteur’s imprint is to be found both in style and basic motifs in Wei’s films as following three distinguished features: non-linear narrative, voiceover, and the use of allusion. There contain two aspects of the colonial relationship reflected on Wei Te-sheng’s films, the oppressor and the oppressed, and the emotional bond. Explanations of paradoxical pro-Japan attitude are manifested in the following two aspects: ineffectiveness of the KMT government, and contribution of Japanese colonial government, including improvement of infrastructure, promotion of economics growth, and colonial education.

Three major films directed by Wei have all set in the rural areas. The praise for the energy and enthusiasm of rural dwellers is indicative of the shift in focus from urban to rural areas. Cape No.7 and Kano, reveal that Taiwanese hold a deep emotional appeal for building warm and harmonious communities in a society constantly shaped by industrialization and urbanization. Cape No.7 and Kano have brought a familial sense of community back to the audience. On the island’s mad rush toward modernization, these two films presented what was lost and sacrificed during this process: harmony with nature, a sense of community, time-honored cultural traditions and local cultures and ways of life. The popularity of the two films reflects the audience’s romantic imagination toward the irretrievable rural life, and reveals that they were nostalgic for the close-knit, intimate, direct interpersonal relationships in rural areas. The atomization of existence is associated with the current situation of cities, where each individual human beings is increasingly isolated. Under such circumstances, two films featuring a sense of community evoked a historical retrospection of the urbanization. The seemingly conservative rural areas preserve the precious complex that people aspire to retain, though it might be spotlighted through a reminiscing filter, the close-knit community with intimate, direct and simple interpersonal relationships.

First Advisor

Enhua Zhang

Second Advisor

David K. Schneider

Third Advisor

Zhongwei Shen

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