Traditional Chinese Aesthetics and Contemporary Chinese Films: Applying the Idea of Qi-yun to Understand the Temporal Structure of Selected Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien

Wai Luk Lo

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

There is a consensus that Hou Hsiao-hsien’s stylistic characteristics include long take, static shot, slight reframing, relatively long distance between camera and subject, and empty shot (Chiao 1988; Meng 1993; Yeh 2005). Hou’s style is certainly distinct from classic Hollywood cinemas continuity grammar that was well established in the first half of the twentieth century, and is by and large followed by the world’s commercial cinema. Hou’s style even contradicts what David Bordwell calls the “intensified continuity,” developed in Hollywood from the 1970s to 1990s, that consists of accelerated cutting rate, emphasis on comparatively close shot-scale, and great deal of versatile camera movement (Bordwell 2005, 147). Hou states that his long take/static shot camera treatment may be involuntary, having emerged from a lack of resources, including professional actors (Cheuk 2008, 51). Nevertheless, there is no doubt that “it becomes a goal to be pursued for its own sake — no longer a byproduct of a constraint, but a source of delicacy, suspense, surprise, and other artistic effects” (Bordwell 2005, 160).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEast Asian Cinema and Cultural Heritage
Subtitle of host publicationFrom China, Hong Kong, Taiwan to Japan and South Korea
EditorsShuk-ting Kinnia Yau
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Chapter4
Pages81-100
Number of pages20
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9780230339507
ISBN (Print)9780230116955, 9781349297702
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

User-Defined Keywords

  • Main Character
  • Aesthetic Idea
  • Medium Shot
  • Chinese Film
  • Chinese Landscape

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