Translation: Gwennaël Gaffric
First original screenplay published in French of a Chinese-language film, the screenplay for the City of Pain (Golden Lion in Venice in 1989), a masterpiece of Taiwanese cinema directed by Hou Hsiaohsien, is given here to read as a literary work. Co-written by Chu Tien-wen and Wu Nien-jen, through the abundant and tragic history of the Lim family, it brings an intimate feeling of the “pains” of the island of Taiwan following the dramatic events of February-March 1947, tragic episode that no film had yet dared to mention.The reader will be able to appreciate the complexity of the political situation and social relations at a time when the Japanese colonizer is giving way to the authoritarian government of the Republic of China. He will (re) discover a brilliant woman of letters well known for her novels and short stories, and a remarkable scriptwriter-dialogue writer (and director). It will also gain access to an in-depth understanding of a powerful and original cinematographic work through its both political and memorial approach.
Chu Tien-wen is a world famous writer. It is published in France and has won the 2015 Newman Prize for Chinese Literature. She is also a screenwriter, with, among others, The City of Pain (published in the Asiathèque in 2015).
WU Nien-jen is a Taiwanese screenwriter, actor, director and producer. He has co-written several films by Hou Hsiao-hsien.
Born in 1987, Gwennaël Gaffric is a lecturer in Chinese studies at Jean Moulin University Lyon 3, where he teaches Chinese language and culture. He is the author of several articles in French, English and Chinese on Chinese-speaking literature (China, Hong Kong and Taiwan). His recent research focuses on contemporary Chinese language science fiction. He is also a translator literary and directs the "Taiwan Fiction" collection at L'Asiathèque.