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Film Studies: National Cinemas

This guide highlights selected resources for various national cinemas.

Introduction to Taiwanese cinema

In the first half of the 20th century, as a colony of Japan, most of the films screened in Taiwan’s cinemas were imported (see japan, film in). Japanese filmmaker Tanaka King directed the earliest feature film The Eyes of Buddha in 1922, with the first film by a Taiwanese director, Liu Xiyang’s Whose Fault Is It?, appearing three years later. As in Japan, cinemas used a benshi, or live narrator, to explain the action on screen. In 1949, the Chinese Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) relocated to Taiwan, embarking on a process of Zhōngguóhuà, or sinicization, with the insistence that Mandarin be used in all film production (see china, film in). From 1953, the KMT established the Hong Kong/Kowloon Film and Drama Free Association, demanding concessions from Hong Kong filmmakers who wished to screen their films in Taiwan’s cinemas, and thus fostering interdependence between the film industries of the two countries that continues to the present day (see hong kong, film in). Commercial film production was a feature of the economically prosperous 1960s, with martial arts films and romances popular; and in 1963, the Central Motion Picture Corporation (CMPC) instigated a cycle of moral instructional ‘Health Realism’ melodramas.  ...

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). Taiwan, film in. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 3 Jun. 2021

In the Library's collections

This page focuses on motion pictures made in Taiwan or by Taiwanese directors and producers. You can use the links below to begin your search.

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book title(s)

Other library resource(s)

Finding journal articles

Articles and other writings about Chinese language films can be found in many publications. Our collection includes 2 journals which look exclusively at Chinese language cinema. You can use Film & Television Literature Index to find articles or use the search box at the top of the page.

Selected movie titles

Find more Taiwanese films in the library's online catalog.