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‘Chineseness’ in Yimou Zhang’s Transnational Cinema

Li, Joe



Qiao Li

Richard Conte


Hollywood and non-Hollywood national cinemas both seek to depict “universal” meanings to ensure better global distribution and reception. “The national” in national cinema is also in a state of hybridity (Bhabha 2004). “The national” becomes even more complicated in this era of economic globalization. Among many issues, the “Otherness” of national cinema has been historically emphasized in relation to Hollywood. If film is designed to offer transnational language, what is the impact on gender, culture, ethics and eventually “the national” in a transnational context ? This article pushes the boundaries of the idea of “the national” in national cinemas by looking at the ways that auteur director Yimou Zhang took his understandings of Chinese traditional culture to films that were intended for Western audiences. In so doing, he further problematized notions of “the national” by embedding understandings based on Chinese culture within his transnational films. The article investigates whether he still remain signifiers of Chinese traditional culture and furthers the investigation of the role of auteur directors and the signification of complex national meanings in contexts beyond that of the nation-state.

Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2019
Online Publication Date Jan 1, 2020
Publication Date Nov 30, 2019
Deposit Date Mar 9, 2022
Pages 99-119
Book Title Migration & Memory: Arts and Cinemas of The Chinese Diaspora
ISBN 9782953455472
Public URL