A Poetics of Time: The Representation of Daily Life

  • Xiao Cai


In this chapter, I am particularly interested in questioning what might be at stake in a discussion of such dailiness, and the ways in which Hou Hsiao-hsien engages with this his films. I do this not simply as a means of explicating Hou’s own work, but most particularly to extrapolate from Hou’s films a larger, more discursive, understanding of the concept of personal time and the everyday in the philosophy and ethics of film-representation and reception. Carol Greenhouse in her study of the politics of time says: “I view time as being primarily “about” accountability, legitimacy and criteria of social relevance” (82). See in this way, time is not a neutral category, experience, use, or enjoy time. I ask, in particular then, to what extent do films, and especially Hou’s films, picking up on Gillian Beer’s words, engage with the various ways of attending to the ongoing rhythm of dailiness, and further, in what ways do they offer a director like Hou the means to record change in How it feels to be alive (7), at a period when, as I believe it is in the Taiwan of Hou’s films, “the question of living is cracial” (Bell 10). I will ask, if time is primarily “about” accountability, legitimacy and criteria of social relevance, particularly in everyday, then what is a stake in the exploration of temporality.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiao Cai
    • 1
  1. 1.Shanghai University of Engineer ScienceShanghaiChina

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