© 2019

The Ethics of Witness

Dailiness and History in Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Films


Table of contents

About this book


This book explores the aesthetic and ethical ways in which history and daily life are filmically represented and witnessed in Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s movies. From the era of the Japanese Occupation to the White Horror and then to the lifting of martial law, the author shows how Hou Hsiao-hsien uses visual media to evoke the rhythms of daily life through the emotional memory of the characters and communities he explores. In particular, the book focuses on the ways in which Hou Hsiao-hsien seeks to reflect the strong dilemmas of identity and the traumatic emotions associated with witnessing history. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, it investigates the concepts of daily life, representation and historical trauma in order to focus on how these films represent history and political trauma through the nature of daily life and personal memories, and the resulting historical responsibility and ethics. This is the first academic monography about Hou Hsiao-hsien’s films.


Daily life The limit of representation Time poetic Border space Historical trauma Ethics of witness Evoking past

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Shanghai University of Engineer ScienceShanghaiChina

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Ethics of Witness
  • Book Subtitle Dailiness and History in Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Films
  • Authors Xiao Cai
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019
  • Publisher Name Springer, Singapore
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-981-13-2169-6
  • Softcover ISBN 978-981-13-4742-9
  • eBook ISBN 978-981-13-2170-2
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XV, 262
  • Number of Illustrations 72 b/w illustrations, 102 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Cultural Studies
    Media Research
  • Buy this book on publisher's site