Cambria Press author Wendy Larson (AAS 2017 speech)

Cambria Press author Wendy Larson (University of Oregon) spoke about her new book Zhang Yimou: Globalization and the Subject of Culture at the Cambria Press reception. This book is in the Cambria Press Sinophone World Series headed by Professor Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania) and the Cambria Press Contemporary Global Performing Arts Series headed by Professor John Clum (Duke University).

Watch Professor Wendy Larson’s speech
at the Cambria Press reception

Cambria Press author Wendy Larson publication Zhang Yimou

Below is a transcript of Professor Wendy Larson’s speech:

“I have been working on this book for ten years. When I first thinking about writing on Zhang Yimou, it was because of the film Hero. As you probably know, the film was extremely controversial. It came out and was widely criticized as being an apology for an authoritarian government as well as many other bad things. As I watched the film, I felt that it was more complicated than that, and I thought that wasn’t quite fair. So that got me into thinking about Zhang Yimou. I had done a little writing on him in the past. So I wrote an article about Hero with a different kind of argument and got a bit of a reaction–Nick Kaldis wrote a response–and I wrote a counter-response. But my idea at the time was to look at the way in which literature and film theorized the position of culture in China–not Chinese culture; that is not to say Chinese culture versus Western culture, or something like that, but rather how culture is structurally working at a time of transformation and crisis in China when there is a lot of pressures from globalization, from consumerism and capitalism, and there’s just rapid change in the information society going on. So, originally, at first I thought I would put Zhang Yimou in there as one person that I will look at. And then I thought I was so tired from doing the book before that, where I looked at so many filmmakers and authors. So I thought maybe I’ll just focus on one, and that will make it easier. [Hahaha] So I did focus on one, but it didn’t make it easier. The choice wasn’t that easy, but I looked at Zhang Yimou’s films and I felt that about half of them, maybe three-quarters of them, could work within my argument. So what I did really is not an auteur-type of study; it is not a study of Zhang Yimou that is going to give you his whole history, his biographical information, his every single film–it is not a survey. It’s really an argument about the way that the films are in themselves a kind of investigation into the way culture is working in China.

There are two questions I often get, so I’ll answer them now. Number 1: Have you met Zhang Yimou? The answer is no. I have not met Zhang Yimou, and that’s on purpose because I feel compromised when I personally know the subjects of my study and I think it is an unconscious thing that I slightly back away from perhaps some of the things I want to say. And that may just be me; it’s not every single person that falls into that kind of trap.

And the second question is: Do you like all of Zhang Yimou’s films? The answer is no. But I like enough of his films, which I think are interesting and I think sometimes they have gotten a bad rap. I’ve had many arguments about this, and that has of course brought out the contrarian in me, and I’m happy to argue about what the films are doing.

So, finally, I just want to say that I am really to be pleased to be able to publish with an independent academic press, and I want to thank Toni Tan and Victor Mair and everyone else who has worked who has worked on this. A lot of people worked very hard on this. I’m very impressed with the speed and quality of the work, and I’m really happy to have published with Cambria Press. Thank you.”

* * * * *

Zhang Yimou has the reputation for being one of the most famous filmmakers of China, as well as one of the most controversial. Despite his stature among Chinese film directors, Zhang Yimou has not yet been the subject of a book-length treatment in English. Film professors who teach his films only have access to a relatively small corpus of articles and book chapters published over some twenty-five years. This book is the first attempt to remedy that situation by laying out not simply a biographical or empirical study, but a polemical argument that counters some of the critical trends in the interpretation of Zhang’s films. In this first critical study of films by Zhang Yimou in English, Wendy Larson plumbs the larger field of debate to suggest thought-provoking ways of thinking about the films and their relationship to Chinese culture. This is an important book for film scholars and for scholars of Chinese culture and history.

Title: Zhang Yimou: Globalization and the Subject of Culture
Author: Wendy Larson
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979756
440 pp.  |   2017   |   Hardback & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604979756.cfm

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#MLA17 – Scholars Making a Difference

The following individuals are scholars who are making a difference with their outstanding scholarly and community contributions. Check out their books at the Cambria booth (#509) in the #MLA17 book exhibit hall.

Top row (left to right): Paul Manfredi (Pacific Lutheran University), Mabel Moraña (Washington University in St. Louis), Christopher Lupke (University of Alberta), E. K. Tan (Stony Brook University), and Alison Groppe (University of Oregon).

cambria-press-authors

Bottom row (left to right): Susan Lever (University of Sydney), Christian Rubio (Bentley University), Wendy Larson (University of Oregon), John Clum (Duke University), and Mark Bender (The Ohio State University).

Scholars Making a Difference

Paul Manfredi

paul-manfredi

Paul Manfredi is Chair of Chinese Studies Program at Pacific Lutheran University and the author of Modern Poetry in China: A Visual-Verbal Dynamic, which has been praised by the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art for being “a very well-written, researched, illustrated and convincingly argued book that will no doubt be read widely among those with a specialist interest in Chinese literature and traditional culture. It is a text that challenges rigid distinctions between the verbal and the visual, not simply through theoretical appeals but also thoroughly grounded historical analysis.” The book includes color images and is part of the Cambria Sinophone World Series, headed by Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania). *Dr. Manfredi will be at the #MLA17, presiding over the session “The Aesthetics of Crossing Media Boundaries in Modern and Contemporary Chinese Culture.”

Mabel Moraña

mabel-morana

Mabel Moraña is the William H. Gass Professor in Arts and Sciences and the Director of the Latin American Studies Program at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the 2013 MLA Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize Winner. Her forthcoming book The Monster as War Machine is part of the Cambria Studies in Latin American Literatures and Cultures Series headed by Román de la Campa (University of Pennsylvania).

Christopher Lupke

christopher-lupke

Christopher Lupke is Professor and Chair of East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta and the author of The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien: Culture, Style, Voice, and Motion, which Modern Chinese Literature and Culture notes that “Lupke succeeds brilliantly” because “Lupke not only demonstrates his astute familiarity with Hou Hsiao-hsien scholarship, which he critically engages with throughout the study, but also reveals his intense familiarity with lesser known yet highly insightful details about Hou’s relationship with his collaborators Zhu Tianwen and Wu Nianzhen” and also  because “Lupke further expands the scope of the study by reading Hou’s work in relation to the films of the venerated Japanese director Ozu Yasujiro.” *Dr. Lupke will be at the #MLA17, presenting at the session “The Aesthetics of Crossing Media Boundaries in Modern and Contemporary Chinese Culture.”

E. K. Tan

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E. K. Tan is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at Stony Brook University and is the author of the highly acclaimed Rethinking Chineseness: Translational Sinophone Identities in the Nanyang Literary World, which renowned Sinologists David Der-wei Wang and Shu-mei Shih have lauded as “magnificent work” and “conceptually innovative and flawlessly written,” respectively.  The book review by Modern Chinese Literature and Culture notes that Tan’s book is “well-written and researched” and “makes important contributions to Sinophone studies, Chinese studies, and Southeast Asian Studies, as well as to scholarship on diaspora, comparative literature, and world literature.” *Dr. Tan will be at the #MLA17, presenting at the session “The Aesthetics of Crossing Media Boundaries in Modern and Contemporary Chinese Culture.”

Alison Groppe

alison-groppe

Alison Groppe is Associate Professor of Chinese Literature at the University of Oregon and the author of Sinophone Malaysian Literature: Not Made in China, which has earned rave reviews in top academic journals. Southeast Asian Studies commends it for “its comprehensive coverage, focused treatment, and lucid exposition”; and the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies praises Groppe’s book because it “provides us with the much-needed basis for further explorations of the literary and cultural landscape of Southeast Asia. This insightful, detailed, and knowledgeable study will appeal to students and scholars of Chinese literature and culture, diasporic literature, and Southeast Asian studies.”

Susan Lever

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Susan Lever (University of Sydney) is general editor of the Cambria Australian Literature series and the author of David Foster: The Satirist of Australia, which was shortlisted for Australia’s prestigious Walter McRae Russell Award. Lever’s book is praised by JASAL for being “remarkable in many ways … Lever’s analysis is entertainingly accessible and navigates a path through the extremes of contemporary literary theory to explain Foster’s complex philosophical ideas and stylistic idiosyncrasies.” In addition to her own publications, Dr. Lever has also helped many authors develop their own works under the Cambria Australian Literature series. Many of these books, such as by Shirley Hazzard: : Literary Expatriate and Cosmopolitan Humanist by Brigitta Olubas and Giving this Country a Memory: Contemporary Aboriginal Voices of Australia by Anne Brewster, have earned outstanding reviews.

Christian Rubio

christian-rubio

Christian Rubio is Associate Professor of Spanish at Bentley University and the author of Krausism and the Spanish Avant-Garde: The Impact of Philosophy on National Culture. Dr. Salvador A. Oropesa, Professor of Spanish and Chair of the Department of Languages at Clemson University, has praised this new book highly because of how “Rubio argues convincingly that Krausism had a practical effect on everyday life and in literature” and points out that “previous critical work on Krausism has focused on its impact on realism. The novelty of Rubio’s study is that it extends its influence to postrealism movements like modernism (in the Anglo sense of the term), the avant-garde, and women’s right’s literature.” As such, he recommends the book as “a must read for those interested in the influence of Krausism and Kantian philosophy in Spanish culture during the early twentieth century.”

Wendy Larson

wendy-larson

Wendy Larson is professor emerita at the University of Oregon and the author of Zhang Yimou: Globalization and the Subject of Culture. Jerome Silbergeld of Princeton University eloquently explains why Larson’s book is so important: “Complex and controversial, the director, cinematographer, and actor Zhang Yimou has defined Chinese film more than anyone else since the ‘opening up’ of China in the early 1980s. But do his films best define the real China or define the difficulty of defining ‘China’ and Chinese culture? Globalization is upon us, contending against nationalism and nationalists, and among other things modernizing Chinese cinema but also Hollywoodizing and de-Sinicizing it. Throughout his career, Zhang Yimou has both de-Sinicized and re-nationalized his Chinese cinema. Larson’s learned and entertaining engagement with Zhang’s evolving cinematic representations of Chinese culture looks at him and his films not only as agents of both hybridizing global forces and patriotic Chinese agendas but also as the product of both. Larson’s book engages readers in an insightful reflection on the significance, the potential, and the limitations of film as cultural production in a constantly changing China.”

John Clum

john-clum

John Clum is professor emeritus at Duke University and the general editor of the Cambria Studies in Contemporary Global Performing Arts Series. Dr. Clum’s publications include Terrence McNally and Fifty Years of American Gay Drama; The Works of Arthur Laurents: Politics, Love, and Betrayal; Awkward Stages: Plays about Growing Up Gay; and Gay Drama Now: An Anthology. His books have been praised for their astute examinations of important cultural works and their impact. For example, on his book on Arthur Laurents, Dr. Brenda Murphy, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Connecticut, praised it because “in this authoritative and engaging book, John Clum draws on an unparalleled fund of knowledge about the musical theatre and the history of LGBT theatre in America to chronicle Laurents’s importance as a gay playwright writing about gay issues during the twentieth century. He elegantly demonstrates the ways in which Laurents’s writings parallel the momentous changes in the social, cultural, and political status of LGBT people.” Dr. Clum has also helped many authors develop their own works and is extremely active in the theatre scene.

Mark Bender

mark-bender

Mark Bender is Professor of Chinese literature and folklore at The Ohio State University and the author of The Borderlands of Asia: Culture, Place, Poetry. Joni Adamson (Arizona State University) notes that the book “introduces poets whose first language is Chinese, Burmese, Khasi, Nuosu, or Mongolian. But here, their poems can be read in English, which Bender brilliantly wields as a ‘language of interaction.’ In the spirit of myth, these poets introduce us to entangled worlds, from the microscopic to the planetary. They reveal a cosmos of intimate relations between animals, plants, landscapes and waters, and urge us to be cautious about environmental changes taking place at scales that are endangering all life on the planet. This is the first and most authoritative book I have seen on the folk cultures, poetic worlds, and geographies of the Eastern Himalayas, Myanmar, and Southwest China.  It is a sparkling ‘cosmography’ that will immediately become required reading in Chinese and Sinophone literary and cultural studies.”

Check out these #MLA17 events!

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Cambria Press Publication Review: The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien

Congratulations to to Dr. Christopher Lupke, Professor and Chair of the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta, on the outstanding review of his book, The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien, in the journal Modern Chinese Language and Cutlure (MCLC).

hou-hsiao-hsien

The review praises the book because

“In plain, jargon-free language replete with astute insights garnered from decades of scholarly engagement with the films of Hou Hsiao-hsien and Taiwanese cinematic and literary culture, Lupke sets out to lift the veil of the technical finesse and structural ambiguity that enshrouds much of Hou’s oeuvre and frequently frustrates film spectators. In this endeavor alone, Lupke succeeds brilliantly. … Lupke not only demonstrates his astute familiarity with Hou Hsiao-hsien scholarship, which he critically engages with throughout the study, but also reveals his intense familiarity with lesser known yet highly insightful details about Hou’s relationship with his collaborators Zhu Tianwen and Wu Nianzhen. … Read more

Order The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien on Amazon today and get free shipping.

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Cambria Press Publication Review: Transatlantic Memories of Slavery

Congratulations to Professors  Elisa Bordin and Anna Scacchi on the glowing review of their book, Transatlantic Memories of Slavery: Reimagining the Past, Changing the Future, by the European Journal of American Studies.

Scacchi Bordin Book Cover

The following are excerpts from the book review.

“With great courage, sharp intuition and professional dedication they have tackled some of the most controversial issues of historical revision and imaginative projection linked to the slave trade all over the world. While stressing the central role of slavery in the affirmation of Euro-American modern capitalistic society, they give space to the dignity and validity of long time ignored acts of memory produced in different fields by people of African descent. The importance attributed by them to these narratives in both written or visual form, are now shown as a dialogic and no less important counterpart to the over-publicized acts of memory written by representatives of the Euro-American hegemonic platform. Through the analysis of a large sample of writings, fiction and non-fiction, films, photographs, popular culture, the authors, a group of renown scholars and artists, question the legitimacy of the kept records, showing that the problem, as William Styron maintained, is not just how to portray the history of slavery, but how ‘to wrestle with the incomplete project of freedom.’

“What appears particularly relevant in this collection is the methodological approach, a complex, comparative, transnational gaze that rightly pulls down the ideal boundaries of nation and continent, North and South America, Brazil and West Africa, and above all French, Spanish and English Caribbean – where, it should be remembered, the slave trade registers its highest peak – allowing them to shed light on the multiple ways in which difference builds up a privileged path to artistic productions. The mechanics of how slavery affected the intercultural, inter-human, inter-linguistic exchanges between different peoples finds in this broad discussion one of the best possible readings, where the textual and the meta-textual crisscross and contaminate each other; a modern approach that ignores stale categories, narrow paradigms, prefigured evaluations.”

“The fluidity achieved between disciplines, territories, languages, anthropological characterizations is happily harmonized with a captivating style, that accrues the meaning of the research and the pleasure of reading.”

Read the entire review here.

This book is in the Cambria Studies in Slavery book series (general editor: Ana Lucia Araujo).

See this book at the #LASA2016 congress. For a 30% discount, order Transatlantic Memories of Slavery now and use the coupon code LASA2016 at www.cambriapress.com.

You can also buy this book on Amazon and get free shipping.

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LASA 2016 Highlights – New & Noteworthy in Latin American Studies

We are proud to launch Dr. Gabriela Fried Amilivia’s new book, State Terrorism and the Politics of Memory in Latin America, at the LASA congress.

Fried Book Cover

This interdisciplinary study, written in a highly accessible style, will have both specialists and nonspecialists appreciating it for how it vividly brings to life the terror inflicted by the state on its people and how it continues to affect them. Tying sociology with history, psychology, and politics, this book will not only add depth to the fields of culture and memory studies but also broaden the scope of understanding for literary works which weave in trauma of Latin American history.

“A groundbreaking study for anyone interested in crimes against humanity and their haunting transgenerational legacy.” —GABRIELE M. SCHWAB, Chancellor’s Professor, University of California, Irvine

Gabriela Fried

Watch Dr. Fried discuss the book at the LASA Congress

Dr. Fried will speak about her book
at the special LASA author session
on
Sunday morning
(May 29) at 9:45 a.m.

in the book exhibit hall at the Hilton.

Mularski Book Cover

“An interesting, enjoyable and instructive example to other nations and cultures about how the powerful get to tell everyone else what their culture is even if the evidence doesn’t support it.” Sounds and Colours

Burns Book Cover.jpg

“Innovative in its transatlantic scope, and is a valuable contribution to attempts to reconsider the role and status of the poet in globalized-—and especially neoliberal-—socioeconomic context.”  A contra corriente

Currie Thompson Book Cover
“Una recomendable monografía para aquellos que quieran profundizar en el cine y la Argentina de los dos primeros mandatos de Perón (1946–55)Thompson cita numerosas y relevantes fuentes a lo largo de todo el volumen, que servirán para apoyar sus argumentos, así como para ilustrar sus ejemplos.”Hispania

Kane Book Cover

“It is entirely revitalizing to see a work devoted to the Central American avant-garde that both grounds its focus critically and keeps its focus on both the aesthetics and politics that grounded the literary production of the vanguardia in the early 20th century. A very welcomed addition to the corpus of writings on the avant-garde, valuable to students and scholars of Central American literature,and those studying the avant-garde from any region.” A contra corriente

Beck Book Cover.jpg

Carefully researched and generously illustrated, Lauren Beck’s book offers a thorough study of primary sources, both textual and visual, on the cultural construction of the enemy in Spanish culture. … The case of Spanish culture is particularly interesting because the Spaniards have been active in the creation of stereotypes of their enemies  and at the same time they have been the object of similar processes of cultural construction by other European nations.”  Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Herrera Book Cover
Offers insightful and nuanced interpretations of selected canonical Chicana writers … focused on the interlocking structure of discriminatory discourses of classism, racism, sexism, and homophobia. Indeed, her discussion of queer Chicana motherhood and patriarchal heterosexism … offers a very productive model for critically embedding queer representations of sexual and gender formation in the context of allied ‘straight’ texts.” Contemporary Women’s Writing
Falola Sanchex Redefining Book Cover.jpg
This book will push understandings of membership and identities in Africa and the African diaspora forward though unique and insightful discussions on Pan-Africanism and African freedom, British colonialism and African spaces, the politics of Brazilian baianas, linguistic and cultural Africanisms in the Caribbean, identities in postcolonial francophone literature, and much more.
Araujo Heritage Book Cover.jpg

“The memory of slavery and the slave trade has strongly influenced how history is understood. What is remembered and why are clearly identified as major historical themes of analysis in this valuable collection.” Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Scacchi Bordin Book Cover.jpg

“With great courage, sharp intuition and professional dedication the editors have tackled some of the most controversial issues of historical revision and imaginative projection linked to the slave trade all over the world … Praise be to them for gathering such a relevant instrument of research, and for opening new perspectives in the field.” European Journal of American Studies

Integrating research from the various fields of humanities and social sciences is more important than ever, which is why Cambria series are interdisciplinary. Click on each series link to see the books in the series.

Cambria Studies in Latin American Literatures and Cultures
(General Editor: Román de la Campa, University of Pennsylvania)

Cambria Studies in Slavery: Past and Present
(General Editor: Ana Lucia Araujo, Howard University) 

Cambria Studies in Contemporary Global Performing Arts
(General Editor: John Clum, Duke University)

AAS 2016 Cambria Press Sinophone World Series Event

The AAS 2016 conference was one of our best conferences yet. It was great being right in the front of the exhibit hall and across from the AAS booth. We appreciated the compliments on our 8 ft long banners from both attendees and other exhibitors. Thanks to all who stopped by!

Asian Studies 1

Cambria Press AAS 2016 Book Exhibit Hall Banner 1

The Cambria booth had two banners–one for our Cambria Sinophone World Series Event and series, and the other for our latest books.

Asian Studies 2

Cambria Press AAS 2016 Book Exhibit Hall Banner 2

Thanks also to all who attended the Cambria Sinophone World Series Event! Speakers were:

Christopher Lupke Toni Tan Victor Mair Sinophone Asian Studies

Christopher Lupke (Washington State University; author of The Sinophone World Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien) with Toni Tan (Cambria Press director) and Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania; general editor of the Cambria Sinophone World Series)

Christopher Lupke Victor Mair Sinophone Asian Studies Toni Tan Cambria

Christopher Lupke (Washington State University; author of The Sinophone World Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien) with Toni Tan (Cambria Press director), Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania; general editor of the Cambria Sinophone World Series), and Minghui Hu (University of California Santa Cruz; coeditor, with Johan Elverskog of SMU, of Cosmopolitanism in China, 1600-1950)

 

Victor Mair Sinophone Christopher Lupke Hou Hsiao-hsien Toni Tan Cambria Press

AAS 2016 Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania; general editor of the Cambria Sinophone World Series), Christopher Lupke (Washington State University; author of The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien) and Toni Tan (Cambria Press director)

 

Buddhist Baodingshan Karil Kucera

Karil Kucera (St. Olaf College; author of Ritual and Representation in Chinese Buddhism)

Download the Asian Studies catalog and browse our titles. Enjoy 30% off all hardcover titles. Use coupon code ASIA30. Libraries can use this code too.

The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien

Cambria Press is pleased to announce a new publication The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien: Culture, Style, Voice, and Motion by Christopher Lupke (Washington State University). This book is in the Cambria Sinophone World Series headed by Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania) and the Cambria Contemporary Global Performing Arts Series headed by John Clum (Duke University).

This book will be launched at the upcoming 2016 Association of Asian Studies (AAS) conference in Seattle.

Hou Hsiao-hsien

The following are excerpts from the book.

Chapter 1: The Odyssey of Hou Hsiao-hsien
Hou Hsiao-hsien Cannes“The odyssey of Hou Hsiao-hsien, a director now in his late sixties, is an unfinished one. Audiences look forward to his constant interrogation of the boundaries of film representation, his wonderful creativity and courage, and his obsessive honing of signature techniques. … he made full use of his training and talent, as well as his collaborative relationships with such important intellectuals as Zhu Tianwen and Wu Nianzhen and technical geniuses such as Du Duzhi, Liao Qingsong, Li Pingbin, and Huang Wenying. When many filmmakers concede to the demands of global capitalistic aesthetics, Hou unwaveringly pursues his craft, disregarding the received viewing conventions of the film public and redefining them at the same time. His is a visionary art whereby he is as restless and uncomfortable as are many film aficionados.” (pp. 37-38)

Chapter 2: Zhu Tianwen and the Sotto Voce of Gendered Expression

Chu-Tien-wen-3
“The influence of Zhu in the film production cannot be underestimated but is difficult to completely distill without resorting to detailed autobiographical and interview evidence about each and every film. For instance, one can tell from interviews of Hou and Zhu,  often conducted jointly, as well as various essays that Zhu Tianwen has written, that there has been a symbiotic, even synergistic, energy at work in their artistic and professional relationship.” (pp. 47-48)

Chapter 3: Comparing Hou Hsiao-hsien and Ozu Yasujirô

Ozu Yasujirô
“Notably, in spite of whatever uncanny resemblances may exist between the cinematic style of Ozu and Hou, especially in Hou’s works up until his 1989 classic A City of Sadness, Hou insists that he had never seen an Ozu film all the way through to that point and therefore could not have been influenced by him except perhaps in some general fashion that perhaps all intellectuals in Taiwan are influenced to one extent or another by, for lack of a better word, what one might call ‘the Japanese aesthetic.'” (pp. 78-79)

Chapter 4: The Muted Interstices of Testimony

A-City-Of-Sadness
“The dissection of these particular sequences [in A City of Sadness] leads to the conclusion that a large measure of the film’s import rests on the fact that just as political repression is a form of silencing, the silent witness Wenqing (Fourth Brother) enacts the very problem of communication which the February 28 Incident creates and the critics of A City of Sadness deplore. Therefore, it is not so much that Hou Hsiao-hsien has failed to put forth a film that adequately represents this historical truth, nor that he has acted on behalf of the Guomindang, wittingly or unwittingly, to present a politically suspect whitewash of the affair, but that his representation of the event contains within itself the seeds of its own skepticism. Hou’s film implies that a pristine recapitulation of the February 28 Incident is no longer accessible and in fact itself would serve to undermine the most important element of political repression: the silencing of contending voices.” (pp. 114-115)

Chapter 5: Time and Teleology in Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Films of Quest and Disillusionment

Goodbye SouthDust in the Wind
“That his characters do not accomplish what they set out to, that they do not get to where they always seem to be going, that the spectator is left to puzzle over the apparently unfinished quality of his carefully wrought paeans to the quotidian is a responsibility that  Hou places on the spectator. Hou’s audiences are left to ponder the awful ennui of his characters and the curiously tentative conclusions of his films. … The circular logic of Hou’s film narratives illusively structured as teleological journeys echoes the feelings of vulnerability its inhabitants hold for Taiwan, an island entity with no official status as a nation, whose denizens have nowhere to which they can flee and no option of expanding its economy within its borders.” (p. 192)

Chapter 6: What is Said and Left Unsaid in Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Period Adaptations

flowers of shanghaiMillennium Mambo
“Even for Hou Hsiao-hsien, Flowers of Shanghai (1998) is a film that presses the bounds of feature filmmaking. … Despite the fact that Hou Hsiao-hsien has said in an interview that Millennium Mambo is a contemporary version of Flowers of Shanghai, the latter does not even contain the narrative voiceover to guide the spectator as the former does.1 The audience is forced to puzzle over the meaning and implications of the film, an alienating experience even for Chinese and Taiwanese audiences due to its period setting. (p. 209)

The Assassin

“Watching Hou Hsiao-hsien’s most recent film The Assassin carefully and repeatedly, one comes to the initial conclusion that it is a plot stripped of all excess, an adumbration of the full story of what happened to the heroine Nie Yinniang and of the historical  circumstances surrounding the militarized province of Weibo where the film is set. While this is true, it is deceiving too because The Assassin is also a colossal reinterpretation of the original Tang-dynasty classical tale “Nie Yinniang,” and the film version and particularly the screenplay endow it with a cornucopia of newly created material that the authors drew both from historical research and from their imaginations.” (p.215)

See also Author Interview with Christopher Lupke.

Learn more about the book and recommend it.

www.cambriapress.com

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