In memory of Yang Dechang ” A prophet not welcome by his country
In the early phase of Taiwan New Cinema Movement, there are two figures: Yang Dechang and Hou Xiaoxian. The audience was divided into the camps of pro-Yang and Pro-Hou. Those loved Hou said that Yang’s work was too cool without Hou’s humanitarianism and embrace of the native soil. The pro-Yang appreciated his work showing the ruthlessness and alienation of modern city life. Looking back upon these comments, I find this distinction too rough. Hou’s movies should be summarized as “native soil”. Neither should Yang’s be simply about ruthlessness and alienation.
But Yang definitely felt distance to Taiwanese-style “native soil”. Many years ago, he introduced me to read a thesis about the origins of Nazi’s anti-Jewish consciousness. The author traced it back to Nazi’s “complex of native soil” and pointed out that they were obsessed with the motherland and romanticized picture of countryside. They argued that the native soil represents people’s roots, honesty and tradition worthy of people’s devotion and even sacrifices. On the contrary, those Jews residing in cities were seen as rootless, diasporic, cunning and elusive others. [Full Text]