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By Jean Ma

This publication seems to be heavily at movies through the main popular administrators of latest chinese language paintings cinema: Hou Hsiao-hsien, Tsai Ming-liang and Wong Kar-wai. It argues that those administrators have jointly authored a different cinema of time around the nation-states of nationwide and transnational movie culture.

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The operations of memory are thereby foregrounded, as well as disturbed by flashbacks that break down the borders of subjectivity insofar as they cannot be attributed to single characters. As a representation of the overlap and convergence of memories, such instances of the flashback call into question the dividing line between subjective, interior reality and objective, external reality. ”44 The distinctiveness of Hou’s approach can be discerned in an example that is all the more compelling for the fact that it contains no flashbacks in the literal sense.

38 Although critics like Rodowick have pointed to the shortcomings of political modernism — how it reifies the opposition between signification and reality, between the politics of form and the politics of ideological content — this paradigm has nonetheless found a renewed life in modernist historiography. 39 Although to a certain extent the Taiwan Trilogy evokes ideas of trauma with its refusal of transparent storytelling, to couch the films solely within this framework does not do justice to the complexity of their engagement of history, and to claim that these films merely reassert the radical impossibility of representing the past and the breakdown of witnessing typically associated with trauma would be an overstatement.

Shizuko’s ceremonial presentation of these to Hinomi as a parting gift constitutes a self-conscious act of transmission, a deliberate objectification of the affective bonds surrounding these articles during earlier and less reflective occasions of sharing. The objects of this exchange are all relics of Japanese culture, portrayed here in its most benign aspect, with the children’s song, the poem, and the tale of the suicide encapsulating an image of a culture of gentleness, nostalgia, and lyricism, shared by individuals of refined aesthetic sensibilities.

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