Wang Tong


Wang Tong
(Wang T’ung)
b. 1942, Taihe, Anhui
Film director
Since 1949, Wang has lived in Taiwan, where he became a major proponent of ‘nativist cinema’. After graduating from the National Taiwan College of Arts in 1964, Wang entered the Central Motion Pictures Corporation in 1966 and worked in stage design on many productions. His directorial debut, If I Were for Real (Jiaru wo shi zhende, 1981), is based on a true event that scandalized Shanghai in 1979 in which a young man obtained many illegal favours by pretending to be the son of a high-level cadre. The script was banned on the mainland before being taken up by the Taiwan studio. Wang proceeded to direct another politically sensitive script censored by the CCP, Kulian (Unrequited Love, 1982). While these two films addressed mainland issues, Wang’s subsequent films focused on Taiwan. A Flower in the Rainy Night (Kan hai de rizi, 1983), based on a story by nativist writer Huang Chunming, was followed the trilogy Strawman (Daocaoren, 1987), Banana Paradise (Xiangjiao tiantang, 1989) and Hill of No Return (Wuyan de shanqiu, 1992). Set during the last years of the Japanese occupation of Taiwan and the first years of the KMT rule, the films explore a key transitional moment in Taiwanese history. Hill of No Return, which focuses on Fumiko, an abandoned Japanese orphan who ends up as a prostitute, presents the devastating effect of Japanese colonialism for all people concerned. A sweeter tone is achieved in Wang’s later Red Persimmon (Hong shizi, 1996).
YOMI BRAESTER

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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