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Temporality in Sinophone Cinema: Aesthetics of the Long Take, Politics of Globalisation, Localist Social Resistance

Proposed by Louis Lo, Associate Professor and Director Graduate Institute for Studies in Visual Cultures, National Yang Ming University

This study of Sinophone cinema explores the concept of temporalities as expressed by the long take employed by directors in three major Chinese-speaking areas, namely Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. Ideas of time in films will illuminate the understanding of the debates surrounding what is termed “Chinese transnational cinema” and “Chinese film style,” given that perceptions of time experienced drastic changes from the 1980s to present day in the Sinophone world due to political, social events in the three places in discussion and a paradigmatic shift on a worldwide scale brought about by globalization. This project investigates temporality in Sinophone films in conjunction with the transformations in the relevant political, social and cultural landscapes, especially in the post war inter-Asian culturies. My hypothesis is that temporality is thematized and put to the fore through the long take by directors of Chinese-language cinema, engaging with the complex economy of transnational cinema and certain stylistics considered to be “Chinese.” Rather than simply pointing out the differences and similarities in the usage of the long take in the three places, I intend to follow Deleuze’s classic analysis on post-WWII cinema in order to formulate a theory of filmic temporality for Sinophone cinema that problematizes concepts of transnationalism and national style. The social conditions of the films and the problems revealed in the films will be examined and compared, especially Taiwan post-new wave cinema, Hong Kong post-1997 co-produced cinema, and the sixth generation Chinese directors.