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Rethinking rural China: Zhang Yimou’s Red Sorghum and the roots-searching movement in a post-cultural revolution context

Li, Qiao



Sharmani Patricia Gabriel

Bernard Wilson


Zhang Yimou, one of the most successful of Chinese auteur directors, has been criticized for his Orientalist tendencies, specifically for the exotic atmosphere that turns his films into Oriental spectacles for Western consumption. Yet criticizing Zhang for his supposedly self-Orientalist tendencies, I would suggest, is inappropriate in the context of the Fifth Generation films of the 1980s and 1990s. I argue that, since for the Chinese themselves this period had entailed a re-visioning of their relationship with culture, nature, and identity, it becomes imperative to replace the stereotyped, Orientalist binaries of East/West and self/other with greater insight into the cultural positioning of the Fifth Generation text itself and its production.

Acceptance Date Sep 30, 2020
Online Publication Date May 18, 2021
Publication Date Jun 18, 2021
Deposit Date Mar 21, 2022
Publisher Routledge
Chapter Number 10
ISBN 9781003105367
Public URL