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Transnational Chinese Cinemas

Identity, Nationhood, Gender

Sheldon H. Lu

Publication Year: 1997

Zhang Yimou's first film, Red Sorghum, took the Golden Bear Award in 1988 at the Berlin International Film Festival. Since then Chinese films have continued to arrest worldwide attention and capture major film awards, winning an international following that continues to grow. Transnational Chinese Cinemas spans nearly the entire length of twentieth-century Chinese film history. The volume traces the evolution of Chinese national cinema, and demonstrates that gender identity has been central to its formation. Femininity, masculinity and sexuality have been an integral part of the filmic discourses of modernity, nationhood, and history. This volume represents the most comprehensive, wide-ranging, and up-to-date study of China's major cinematic traditions. It is an indispensable source book for modern Chinese and Asian history, politics, literature, and culture.

Published by: University of Hawai'i Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi- xiii

The idea of a volume of critical essays on Chinese film originated from the conference “Rethinking Cross-Cultural Analysis and Chinese Cinema Studies” that I organized at the University of Pittsburgh in 1994. The participation of film scholars from all over the country as well as the presence of colleagues and...

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Historical Introduction: Chinese Cinemas (1896 - 1996) and Transnational Film Studies

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pp. 1-34

This volume of essays is a collective rethinking of the national/transnational interface in Chinese film history and in film studies and cultural studies at large. The contributors come from the various disciplines of Chinese history, Chinese...

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Chapter 1·Anti-Imperialism and Film Censorship During the Nanjing Decade, 1927–1937

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pp. 35-58

Beginning in the late nineteenth century, Chinese revolutionaries faced two tasks simultaneously: externally, they wanted to free China from the grips of the imperialist powers; internally, they sought to fundamentally reform Chinese society so that China could embark on the path to modernity. The anti-imperialism

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Chapter 2

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pp. 59-80

On the eve of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in 1964, Xie Jin brought to the screen a story about the changing lives of women in twentieth- century China set against the backdrop of the Shaoxing opera world. Although...

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Chapter 3·From “Minority Film” to “Minority Discourse”: Questions of Nationhood and Ethnicity in Chinese Cinema

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pp. 81-104

In recent years, cultural critics have returned to the relationship between nationhood and ethnicity with a renewed sense of urgency if not anxiety. This has been, in part, to criticize the established paradigms and...

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Chapter 4

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pp. 105-138

In the burgeoning field of cultural studies in China in the 1990s, Zhang Yimou’s film art has been the focal point of much critical discussion.1 The international popularity of Zhang’s films conveniently thematizes a set of interrelated...

Part II

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Chapter 5

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pp. 139-168

One of the most crucial factors that binds a group of people into a “nation” is “the possession in common of a rich legacy of memories,” 1 a shared heritage which, through repetition, creates and reinforces a sense of historical continuity...

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Chapter 6·The Diaspora in Postmodern Taiwan and Hong Kong Film: Framing Stan Lai’s The Peach Blossom Land with Allen Fong’s Ah Ying

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pp. 169-186

Born in the United States but educated in Taiwan after the age of twelve, Taiwan “mainlander” Chinese director Stan Lai (Lai Shengchuan) might be better described as an American Asian than an Asian American. Already noticed by...

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Chapter 7

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pp. 187-220

Ang Lee’s films are powerful evocations of cultural preservation as well as intercultural (mis)communication. Lee’s work illustrates the inevitable conflicts and negotiations between individuals bound by familial and societal obligations...

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Chapter 8

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pp. 221-238

Hong Kong cinema poses a number of interesting problems for film scholars. A comprehensive film history remains to be written, and the work that has been done by Hong Kong film critics and historians has yet to be translated...

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Chapter 9

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pp. 239-264

In early 1996, as Hong Kong’s 1997 reversion to the control of Mainland China loomed ever closer, the precise mechanism and meaning of this transition remained maddeningly indistinct. Hong Kong citizens, political interests, and business...

Part III

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Chapter 10·Reading Formations and Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubine

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pp. 165-276

Edward Said was prescient in pointing out the importance of theories circulating from one culture to another. In an essay titled “Traveling Theory” in The World, the Text, and the Critic, Said wrote:

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Chapter 11

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pp. 277-302

When the silent film The New Woman (Xin nüxing) opened in Shanghai during the lunar new year festival of 1935, one newspaper reviewer applauded “the number of films with ‘the woman question’ as their subject over the past few...

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Chapter 12

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pp. 303-330

Since its release in 1990, Zhang Yimou’s Ju Dou has drawn intense interest from film critics, academic scholars, and general audiences. Reading Ju Dou against the difficulties and errors that often occur in cross-cultural interpretations of non-Western texts..

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Chapter 13·The Concubine and the Figure of History Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubine

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pp. 331-346

Yuejin Wang has pointed out an ironic cross-cultural situation: it is precisely the films of the Fifth-Generation directors, films that posit a “cultural identity that the current Chinese public are reluctant to identify, and which they keep at arm’s length” that have received acclaim abroad as a “cinematic representation...

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Chapter 14· Narrative Images of the Historical Passion: Those Other Women—On the Alterity in the New Wave of Chinese Cinema

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pp. 347-360

The self-conscious New Wave of Chinese cinema begins with a resituation of what C. T. Hsia, in his study of modern Chinese literature,1 calls the modern Chinese “obsession with China,” an obsession recurrent in modern Chinese literary, social, and political thought, which begins with that traumatic moment...

Chinese Glossary

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pp. 361-370


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pp. 371-380


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pp. 381-404

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 405-408


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pp. 409-414

E-ISBN-13: 9780824865290
Print-ISBN-13: 9780824818456

Publication Year: 1997