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“Accountability and Redemption: Cinematic Representation of Atrocity in Taiwan”: Film and discussion with Prof. Sylvia Li-chun Lin, 9/24

September 24, 2007IASEvents0

In the heyday of anti-Communist hysteria in Taiwan ruled by Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government, an estimated twenty thousand people suspected of subverting the government were tried in secret, military courts and tortured into confessing crimes they never committed. Some were summarily executed and hastily buried, without notifying the families. After the lifting of martial law (1987), the people in Taiwan finally were free to reflect upon this ignoble period, the White Terror Era, with fiction writers and filmmakers recreating this page of their country’s past. Wan Ren’s Super Citizen Ko, explores the functions of memory and its cinematic re-creation in the form of flashback. The indictment of government thought police, which was a hallmark of the White Terror, comes through most powerfully when the public and the private clash, when one’s passion for the future of one’s country results in eighteen years of imprisonment and a broken family. With its cinematic subject and techniques, this film raises such issues as accountability, responsibility, and recovering from trauma, all of which have been de-emphasized in Taiwan’s search for truth and reconciliation. Sylvia Li-chun Lin, Ph.D. is The Notre Dame Assistant Professor of Chinese Dept. of East Asian Languages & Literatures. Cosponsored by The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, The Consortium for the Study of the Asias, and The Department of History.

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