Taiwan Cinema as Soft Power: Authorship, Transnationality, Historiography (Paperback)
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Why has Taiwanese film been so appealing to film directors, critics, and audiences across the world? This book argues that because Taiwan is a nation without hard political and economic power, cinema becomes a form of soft power tool that Taiwan uses to attract global attention, to gain
support, and to build allies. Author Song Hwee Lim shows how this goal has been achieved by Taiwanese directors whose films win the hearts and minds of foreign audiences to make Taiwan a major force in world cinema. The book maps Taiwan's cinematic output in the twenty-first century through the three keywords in the book's subtitle-authorship, transnationality, historiography. Its object of analysis is the legacy of Taiwan New Cinema, a movement that begun in the early 1980s that has had a lasting impact upon
filmmakers and cinephiles worldwide for nearly forty years. By examining case studies that include Hou Hsiao-hsien, Ang Lee, and Tsai Ming-liang, this book suggests that authorship is central to Taiwan cinema's ability to transcend borders to the extent that the historiographical writing of Taiwan
cinema has to be reimagined. It also looks at the scaling down of soft power from the global to the regional via a cultural imaginary called little freshness, which describes films and cultural products from Taiwan that have become hugely popular in China and Hong Kong. In presenting Taiwan
cinema's significance as a case of a small nation with enormous soft power, this book hopes to recast the terms and stakes of both cinema studies and soft power studies in academia.
About the Author
Song Hwee Lim is Professor of Cultural Studies at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is the author of Tsai Ming-liang and a Cinema of Slowness (2014) and founding editor of the Journal of Chinese Cinemas.