Diegetic Music and Identity in Hou Hsiao-hsien's A City of Sadness (1989)
My thesis examines the functions of five diegetic songs, “Along the Songhua River,” “Red Dragonfly,” “Lorelei,” “Wagon Song,” and “Spring Flower,” in Hou Hsiao- hsien’s film, A City of Sadness (1989). This cinematic work illustrates the political, cultural and historical development in Taiwan after a fifty-year period of Japanese colonization. My analysis of five songs in chapters two to six addresses three perspectives: the significance of narrative, the allegory hinted at by the counterpoint of music and images, and the role of female protagonists in each scene. By discussing the political-cultural background in the society during late twentieth-century Taiwan, as well as comparing the differences amongst the five scenes in which the songs occur, I emphasize on not only the role of music and sound, but also the relation amongst music, protagonists’ characteristics, gender roles, and the issue of identity.