In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Film in Taiwan

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Anthologies
  • Journals
  • Industry and Market
  • Taiwan New Cinema and After
  • Taiwanese-Dialect Film
  • Documentary
  • Animation
  • Film Stars
  • Gender
  • Genre
  • Trauma
  • National Identity

Chinese Studies Film in Taiwan
Daw-Ming Lee
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 June 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199920082-0147


Taiwan cinema in this bibliography covers two periods in the history of Taiwan cinema: some during Japanese colonial rule (1895–1945) and mostly after the end of World War II (1945–present). Although film arrived in Taiwan more than a century ago, relatively few books and essays, in any language, have explored Taiwan cinema during the Japanese colonial period. In the past quarter of a century, most film studies on Taiwan cinema in the West discuss only films and their makers after 1950, especially those after the emergence of Taiwan New Cinema. Despite the fact that Taiwan cinema has been known globally since the late 1980s, and masters like Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang, Ang Lee, and Tsai Ming-liang are household names among international art film enthusiasts, academic interest in studying Taiwan cinema is relatively low in comparison to interest about China and Hong Kong cinemas. To no surprise, Hou, Yang, Tsai, Lee, and their films were the main focus of film studies about Taiwan cinema. A few books and essays did pay attention to other areas of study, including the history, industry, and market. This bibliography includes full-length books in English, as well as books, articles, and data in Chinese or Japanese in subsections, such as General Overviews, Reference Works and Filmographies. It also includes some lesser-known filmmakers and neglected genres like Taiwanese-Dialect Film.

General Overviews

Depending on the authors’ intentions, as well as publication dates, the eras, and areas covered in publications listed in this section differ. Among Chinese-language books on Taiwan cinema after 1945, Lu 1998 is innovative in its historical view and provides analysis of the political, economic, and aesthetic development of Taiwan cinema after the Nationalists moved its central government to Taiwan in 1949. Wen 2012 offers detailed annual overviews of Taiwan cinema between 1992 and 2011, supplementing what Lu 1998 left unexplored. Lee, et al. 2001 is an illustrated overview of Taiwan cinema on the island between 1900 and 2000. An in-depth analysis of Taiwan cinema, with an emphasis on the last decade, Udden 2007 is one of the few English-language books that specifically explores Taiwan film. Yang 2003 is a journalistic overview of Taiwan cinema in the 1970s and 1980s. It provides information especially useful for researchers who are interested in the genres of martial arts and action movies. Hong 2011 puts both colonial and postcolonial Taiwan cinema (1945–1980) in the discourse of national cinema. Lee 2013, with its new findings about cinema under Japanese colonial rule, is one of the most updated English-language articles on the topic. Lim 2013 also contains useful information on Taiwan cinema.

  • Hong, Guo-Juin. Taiwan Cinema: A Contested Nation on Screen. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230118324

    An updated and comprehensive study of Taiwan cinema and its history, discussing not only auteurs of Taiwan New Cinema and post–Taiwan New Cinema but also pre-1945 colonial cinema, as well as popular cinema between 1955 and 1982. The book presents arguments about the contested concept and representation of “nation” in Taiwan cinema. See also Guo-Juin Hong, “Historiography of Absence: Taiwan Cinema before New Cinema 1982.” Journal of Chinese Cinema 4.1 (2010), pp. 5–14.

  • Lee, Daw-Ming. “Introduction.” In Historical Dictionary of Taiwan Cinema. Edited by Daw-Ming Lee, 1–33. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2013.

    Based on new findings of the author from years of original research, this essay brings new facts and details to the history of Taiwan cinema and offers a comprehensive overview of Taiwan cinema from its inception to the present. This article is also available online.

  • Lee Yung-chuan 李泳泉, et al. Shiji huigu: tushuo huayu dianying (世紀回顧:圖說華語電影). Taibei: Xingzhengyuan wenhua jianshe weiyuanhui and Guojia dianying ziliaoguan, 2001.

    English title: Spectrums of the Century: Chinese Cinemas 1896–1999. An overview of Chinese-language film histories of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, from 1896 until the end of the 20th century. This is a pictorial, rather than an academic book, for general readers. Experts from both sides of the Taiwan Straits were invited to write articles for the book.

  • Lim, Song Hwee. “Taiwan New Cinema: Small Nation with Soft Power.” In The Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas. Edited by Carlos Rojas and Eileen Cheng-Yin Chow, 152–169. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

    A good reference book on the history, form, and structure of cinema in Taiwan since the emergence of Taiwan New Cinema in the 1980s. The author argues that a dismal domestic production level is no hindrance to a small cinema like Taiwan cinema in achieving global acclaim. It examines a new wave of popular consumption of domestic films and advocates an alternative cinema (another kind of cinema), proposed during the Taiwan New Cinema movement.

  • Lu Feiyi 盧非易. Taiwan dianying: Zhengzhi, jingji, meixue 1949–1994 (台灣電影:政治、經濟、美學1949–1994). Taibei: Yuanliu chuban gongsi, 1998.

    This is a scholarly study of Taiwan cinema under the Nationalist rule. Based on the author’s database of more than 400,000 pieces of information collected from newspapers, government files, and all types of literature. A book-length political and economic analysis of film development in Taiwan based on solid data. It only covers Taiwan cinema from the Nationalist government’s retreat to Taiwan to the emergence of the Taiwanese Second Wave.

  • Udden, James. “Taiwan.” In The Cinema of Small Nations. Edited by Mette Hjort and Duncan Petrie, 144–159. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press, 2007.

    DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625369.003.0009

    Taiwan cinema is among the twelve small national or “subnational” cinemas analyzed in the anthology. A detailed and informative study of institutional and textual issues related to Taiwan cinema.

  • Wen Tianxiang 聞天祥. Guoying: 1992–2011 Taiwan dianying zonglun (過影:1992–2011台灣電影總論). Taibei: Shulin chuban gongsi, 2012.

    A year-by-year review of Taiwan cinema between 1992, when it was at its lowest point, and 2011, when a revival took place in its domestic market. A useful source of information for understanding the development of Taiwan cinema in the 1990s and 2000s.

  • Yang, Jeff. Once upon a Time in China: A Guide to Hong Kong, Taiwanese, and Mainland Chinese Cinema. New York: Atria, 2003.

    An overview to cinemas of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China, from the film business in Shanghai in 1896 through different stages in Greater Chinese cinematic history. The context of each era is provided, and important films are reviewed. Romantic melodrama of Taiwan in the 1970s, the Taiwan New Cinema in the 1980s, and the Second Wave filmmakers of the 1990s are discussed. A journalistic approach makes this book an easy introductory reading.

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