By Liwen Wang
After the success of You Are the Apple of My Eye (2011), teen romantic comedy became increasingly popular in Taiwanese cinema. Since then, new movies in this genre have been produced yearly. Moreover, two of the all-time highest-grossing Taiwanese films to date are teen romantic comedies. Notably, nostalgia was headlined as the genre’s appeal and further used as a monetized affect. To scrutinize this affective phenomenon in Taiwanese cinema, this paper breaks down the etymological connotation and economic values regarding nostalgia. I examine Our Times (2015) as case-study to demonstrate how nostalgia is packaged as a happy experience – despite the ongoing debate about whether nostalgia is a positive or a negative emotion – to ensure box-office profit, and how nostalgia is designed to be experienced happily through (1) generic expectation, (2) recycled talent, and (3) textual interpellation.