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Title: Music and sound in post-1989 Taiwan cinema
Author: Su, Yen-ying
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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Although film music research has been on the rise over the last decade, most research has focused on the Hollywood tradition. An increasing number of projects focusing on film-scoring traditions other than Hollywood are nevertheless beginning to reveal the richness of localised traditions and increase our understanding of the purpose of film music elsewhere. This thesis is a study of music in Taiwan cinema, focusing on the period 1989-2009. After the 1987 lifting of martial law and the 1989 release of HOU Hsiao-hsien's celebrated A City of Sadness, restrictions on cultural production in Taiwan were relaxed and cash from other Chinese-speaking communities as well as European and American companies began to be invested in Taiwan cinema. This influx of foreign capital has combined with the cultures of multiple colonisers to create the heterogeneous approach to filmmaking and the hybrid musical cultures found in Taiwan today. How do all these changes affect our understanding of the relationship between music and moving images in Taiwan cinema? How has music in Taiwan cinema reflected and responded to changes to its internal and external environments? I shall examine these questions from three perspectives. In Part One I briefly summarise the country's cultural history in order to flesh out an argument about the environment in which film musicians were working. I also define important conceptual terms such as Taiwan cinema, Chinese-language cinema, Cultural China, transnational cooperation, and so on. In Part Two I investigate the influences of Chinese aesthetics on music in Taiwan cinema, particularly on HOU Hsiao-hsien's use of silence. In doing so, I suggest that the changing philosophy of silence in HOU's films reflects his response to political and cultural currents over the past two decades. In Part Three I examine music in martial arts films, particularly in Ang 3 LEE's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). As an important genre in China and the first to gain popularity in the West, martial arts films have long been subject to transnational exchange; to study the role of music and musicality in martial arts films is therefore to gain a useful perspective on the shifting forces that have influenced Taiwan cinema and Chinese-language cinema over several decades. The success of Crouching Tiger has given rise to more frequent transnational exchanges in Taiwan cinema than before. In Part Four, I will examine the music in two more recent films, Cape No. 7 (2008) and Secret (2007), to examine film music's ability to reflect the struggles in today's Taiwanese society to construct its own cultural identity. 4
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available