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Aesthetics of Violence and Elegy for the Young: Chang Tso-chi’s Gang Trilogy

  • Ivy I-chu Chang
Chapter

Abstract

Chang Tso-chi’s Darkness and Light (1999), The Best of Times (2002), and Soul of a Demon (2007) are characteristic of his peculiar aesthetics of violence, layered poetic imagery, and elegiac filmic style in portraying the coming-of-age stories of young gangsters. This chapter discusses how Chang embeds gang story within plausible accounts of local small town life and volatile teenage passion; how he crisscrosses incompatible modes of documentary-style realism and fantasy sequence to explore the dynamism of lower class multi-ethnic margins and the underworld (jianghu) of Taiwan’s society. Associating Chang’s “haunted realism” with “secular modernity,” it contextualizes his films to investigate how his spectacles of violence visualize the colonial and patriarchal violence that has carved into historical and personal memories as well as individual bodies.

Keywords

Chang Tso-chi Taiwan cinema Gang Documentary Poetic Haunted realism Colonial Violence Aboriginal Juvenile delinquency Patricide Secular modernity 

Works Cited

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Filmography

  1. Darkness and Light (黑暗之光). Dir. Chang Tso-chi (張作驥). Perf. Lee Kang-yi (李康宜) and Robert Fan (范植偉). Chang Tso Chi Film Studio, 1999. DVD.Google Scholar
  2. The Best of Times (美麗時光). Dir. Chang Tso-chi. Perf. Robert Fan, Kao Meng-chieh (高盟傑), and Tsai Ming-shiou (蔡明修). Chang Tso Chi Film Studio, 2002. DVD.Google Scholar
  3. Soul of a Demon (蝴蝶). Dir. Chang Tso-chi. Perf. Zeng Yi-zhe (曾一哲), Chen Pei-jun (陳佩君), and Cheng Yu-ren (程毓仁). Chang Tso Chi Film Studio, 2007. DVD.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ivy I-chu Chang
    • 1
  1. 1.National Chiao Tung UniversityHsinchuTaiwan

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