Time without Measure, Sadness without Cure

Jean Ma

in Melancholy Drift

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9789888028054
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207172 | DOI:
Time without Measure, Sadness                   without Cure

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Hou Hsiao-hsien's renowned trilogy of films on modern Taiwanese history—A City of Sadness, The Puppetmaster, and Good Men, Good Women—all travel back in time through the subjective portals of dream and reverie, fantasy, story worlds, memory, and intoxication. The first film of this trilogy derives its formal logic from the uneven temporality of memory; the second, whose Chinese title translates literally as “drama, dream, life”, is described by the director as “dream-like, like a wonderland”; and the third has been aptly characterized by one critic as a thoroughly “nocturnal” film, with its main character passing constantly through states of sleep and awakening, daydreaming, and inebriation. The close analysis here begins from the premise that these works offer important insights on the conjunction of memory, media, violence, and nationhood in contemporary discussions of the posthistoire.

Keywords: Taiwanese history; Hou Hsiao-hsien; memory; nocturnal film; A City of Sadness; The Puppetmaster

Chapter.  13086 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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