Analysis on the aesthetics in movie design among different regions: Taking the works of hou Hsiao-Hsien and Zhang Yi-Mou as examples

Li Jingxi, Yu Fu Yang, Liu Lixing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is a great fortune to live in Taiwan, because even though it's status as "a country" is still under contention, we have already enjoyed the recognition of a pluralistic democracy, race and culture. Although the Taiwanese have inherited the rich Chinese culture, there are indeed differences still between people across straits, because a sensitive and tense political climate has influenced indirectly their social customs, beliefs, values and thinking. As Chinese, it seems that we are responsible for and are obliged to illustrate clearly the aesthetic differences between both sides of the straits that result from the regional and cultural discrepancy. Based on this ideology, this essay was written with the aim of analyzing two internationally acclaimed directors, from the perspective of aesthetics in Movie Design - taking the works of Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Zhang Yi-Mou (A City of Sadness(1990) and Hero(2003) respectively) as examples. These two movies possess superlative art achievements that act as the symbolic indicators of the epoch and the political consciousness of the people. This research made use of two methods: The comparative method is used to examine the following image analysis procedures, such as compositional interpretation (i.e. shots, narration and custom code analysis), and discourse analysis (seeing it from the audience's perspective, and interpreting the culture and ideology from a personal point of view). The preliminary research shows: 1. Hsiao-Hsien's A City of Sadness (1990) is full of regional characteristics (e.g. Tai Ke culture, long shots displaying the common people's life, and portions of the script that criticizes the political situation at that time). 2. Zhang Yi-Mou's Hero (2003) applies long shots to present Chinese grant territory, and angle shots to display the power and army of the king, with much praise and little criticism towards the political situation. 3. Unique regional images are used in these two movies (e.g. Chinese hero and Taiwanese Tai Ke are from different eras. The influence onto Tai Ke from the colonization era is presented through the costumes and stage setting).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-138
Number of pages16
JournalDesign Principles and Practices
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Discourse Analysis
  • The Aesthetics of Movie Design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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