Postsocialist Conditions: Idea and History in China’s “Independent Cinema,” 1988-2008, WANG Xiaoping offers a comprehensive survey and trenchant critique of China’s “Independent Cinema” by the sixth-generation auteurs. By showing the multi-valence of the postsocialist conditions in contemporary Chinese society, their films articulate a new cultural-political logic in postsocialist China, which is also the logic of the market in this era of neoliberal transformation, brought about by the forces of marketization since the late 1980s. The directors laudably show the spirits of humanism and the humanitarian concerns of the underclass, yet the shortage and repudiation of class analysis prohibits the artists from exploring the social contradictions and the cause of class restructuration.
Remaking Gender and the Family, Sarah Woodland examines the complexities of Chinese-language cinematic remakes. With a particular focus on how changes in representations of gender and the family between two versions of the same film connect with perceived socio-cultural, political and cinematic values within Chinese society, Woodland explores how source texts are reshaped for their new audiences. In this book, she conducts a comparative analysis of two pairs of intercultural and two pairs of intracultural films, each chapter highlighting a different dimension of remakes, and illustrating how changes in gender representations can highlight not just differences in attitudes towards gender across cultures, but also broader concerns relating to culture, genre, auteurism, politics and temporality.
Song Dynasty Figures of Longing and Desire, Lara Blanchard analyzes images of women in painting and poetry of China’s middle imperial period, focusing on works that represent female figures as preoccupied with romance. She discusses examples of visual and literary culture in regard to their authorship and audience, examining the role of interiority in constructions of gender, exploring the rhetorical functions of romantic images, and considering connections between subjectivity and representation. The paintings in particular have sometimes been interpreted as simple representations of the daily lives of women, or as straightforward artifacts of heteroerotic desire; Blanchard proposes that such works could additionally be interpreted as political allegories, representations of the artist’s or patron’s interiorities, or models of idealized femininity.
The Chinese Cultural Revolution is the single most important internal social event in contemporary Chinese history. The plethora of history, literary, and artistic representations inspired by this event are critical to our understanding of the diversified, often contested, interpretations of contemporary China.
Li Li’s critical examination of autobiographic, filmic and fictional presentations in
Memory, Fluid Identity, and the Politics of Remembering: The Representations of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in English-speaking Countries demonstrates that “memory works” not only reflect memories of those who lived through that period, but memories about their past, and, more importantly, about their identity remapping and artistic negotiation in a cross-cultural environment.