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Women, Consumption and Popular Culture (Vol. 4 No. 1); Life, Community, and Ethics (Vol. 4. No. 2)

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Transatlantic Literary and Cultural Relations, 1776 to the Present (Vol. 11 No. 2). 


In the 1960’s and 1970’s, a genre of film in Taiwan was referred to as “Healthy Realism,” which featured “realistic” scenes and characters in the countryside. Oyster Girl and Beautiful Ducking are typical films labeled as “Healthy Realism.” The combination of these two different elements, edification and realism, made the term “healthy realism” an oxymoron and the genre a new but weird type. Films in the healthy realism genre, as many film critics have been quick to point out, are obviously ideology-laden, with their aim of providing propaganda for government policies, such as the reformation of farming technology, the improvement of the countryside environment. These propaganda issues are manifestly rendered in the narrative of Oyster Girl and Beautiful Ducking in such subplots as the members of the Council of the Revolution in Farming going to the countryside to help the farmers to improve their farming technology, and the event of a Farming Competition. The government’s policies on the countryside are in one way or another embedded in the narrative of the two films. But, what is less visible is the promotion of a national identity based on the political policy of the KMT, which is relatively submerged without being manifest in the diegetic narrative of the two films. Instead, it is manifested mostly through extra-diegetic voices of the two films, such as voice-over commentaries, the theme song, and the background orchestral music. The language of Mandarin the characters use, when connected with the Mandarin in the voice-over, can serve as a bridge between the diegetic themes and the extra-diegetic ideology. While the use of Mandarin as the language of the characters in the films of healthy realism renders such films unrealistic, it is an element of “health” nevertheless since it can be connected to the “healthy” extra-diegetic voices. It is these “healthy” extra-diegetic voices that covertly register the KMT version of national identity and carry a political load heavier than that of the diegetic theme of rural improvement. These “healthy” extra-diegetic voices do not go with the “realistic” images in the technical, social, or political spectrum, but the voices dominate the images and make them serve national ideology. The politics of the voice, for us, is one of the quintessential characteristics of the films of “healthy realism.”

KEYWORDS: healthy realism, voice, acousmêtre, voice-over 

摘 要

六七○年代的健康寫實電影是一種兼顧票房與政治考 量的特殊電影類型,雖然有鄉土寫實背景充當保護色,但情 節的安排上,仍可看到一些農改等政宣議題的影子。不過, 比較隱而不顯的是黨國的認同架構或意識形態,這在「敘事 內」看不太出來,而是透過「敘事外」的聲音來偷渡,這些 聲音包括國語、旁白、主題曲、配樂與進行曲等。從《蚵女》 與《養鴨人家》兩片的分析中,我們可以發現「健康」與「寫 實」的矛盾剛好對應於「敘事外」聲音與「敘事內」鄉土寫 實影像的矛盾。但這個影音矛盾所造成的結果是「寫實」影 像與「健康」聲音之間、鄉土與黨國之間的互補。而造成這 種互補的原因在於聲音的多重性或超越性被旁白及主題曲 所代表的「健康」聲音所牽制壓縮,而被置於黨國(理想) 包圍鄉土(寫實)的框架之下。國語雖然讓健康寫實電影顯 得不寫實,但它和意識形態之間的關係並不是那麼直接,而 可視為是一種「離身」聲音或席翁所謂的「聽覺存有」,同 時具有「敘事內」及「敘事外」的各種功能。但國語旁白則 讓國語和黨國的聲音產生聯想,使聲音與敘事的互補而指向 黨國的終極認同。另一方面這兩部片的主題曲,搭配壯觀鄉 土影像、人物笑顏特寫、描繪幸福富庶的歌詞描述以及渾厚 高亢的歌聲,再配上台灣民謠改編的交響曲,都讓鄉土與黨 國更密切地「交響」。比較起來,鵝聲、鴨聲及歌仔戲等代 表鄉土的聲音則僅具有「敘事內」的功能,單純當作鄉土敘 事背景,而無鄉土認同的功能。由敘事外的「健康」聲音來 主導敘事內「寫實」影像,就是這兩部健康寫實片的聲音政治。