By Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh
Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, vol. 15, no. 1, pp.1-28
In the films of Edward Yang, American popular music of the 1950s and 1960s has a strong presence. Yang’s autobiographical epic A Brighter Summer Day highlights a particular kinship between Taiwanese youth rebellion and American popular music. Through a close analysis of the music, the essay argues that A Brighter Summer Day suggests at least two levels of meaning. It is a nostalgic film about a turbulent period in Taiwan history; and it can also be seen as a metanarrative, a musical mimicry of Taiwan’s codependency on US cultural hegemony. American music in this film illuminates the ambivalent relationship between youth rebellion, colonial evocations, and critiques of neocolonialism in postwar Taiwan history.