The Evolution of Taiwan Feature Film Production, 1949–1994: a filmographic survey


Fei-i Lu


To provide an overview of feature film production in Taiwan from 1949 to 1994, 3504 films made during this period were classified and analyzed. These films were examined using filmometric analysis and were compared with the Hong Kong and other foreign movies shown in Taiwan in roughly same period.

The research indicates that Taiwan film production reached its peaks in 1957–1959, 1962-1971, 1978-1982, and 1987-1989. In the first two prosperous periods, Taiwan dialect films dominated the pro duction market. And in the last two periods, romance, kung-fu, and pornography films made mainly for export and video-for-rental markets took over the lead.

The research also reveals that approximately five hundred and more films were shown in Taiwan each year. About half of these films were imported from foreign countries (or, literally speaking, from Hollywood). And the rest share were introduced from Hong Kong — with Taiwan home-mades as complement. The statistics proves that Taiwan film industry was capable to play a seesaw match with Hong Kong before 1971. But soon after then, Taiwan had lost the game.

To conclude, the author, in light of the fact that foreign films are sweeping out the market, calls for reconsideration of the film protection policy and urges the necessity for immediate action. It is foreseen that if no action is taken, the foreign films will conquer Taiwan market, and Hong Kong movies and Taiwan cinema will share the frontier.