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Hou Xiaoxian and Zhu Tianwen

Hou Xiaoxian and Zhu Tianwen

Politics and Poetics in A Time to Live, A Time to Die

(p.149) Chapter 6 Hou Xiaoxian and Zhu Tianwen
Adapted for the Screen
Hsiu-Chuang Deppman
University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter is about Zhu Tianwen’s 1986 adaptation into literature of A Time to Live, A Time to Die, a 1985 film by Hou Xiaoxian. Notably, Zhu herself had served as a screenwriter for the film. A political allegory about Taiwan’s coming of age in the 1950s and 1960s, Hou uses the perspective of a teenage boy whose family emigrates from the mainland to Taiwan in 1948, right before the Communist Revolution in 1949. The comparison between Hou, one of the most influential Taiwanese/Chinese directors today, and Zhu, a preeminent Chinese/Taiwanese woman writer, highlights the “literary cinematics” of both artists and reveals competing gender and nationalist politics in Taiwan’s multicultural society.

Keywords:   literary cinematics, Zhu Tianwen, Hou Xiaoxian, Taiwan, political allegory, gender politics, nationalist politics

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