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East of West pp 111-123 | Cite as

Representing the Chinese Nation-State in Filmic Discourse

  • Sheldon H. Lu
Chapter

Abstract

Media theorists and cultural critics have argued that the post-Cold War era is the age of transnational media and cultural globalization. Transnationalization, in this formulation, breaks down national barriers and penetrates the remote corners of the globe. Globalization, as succinctly defined by Roland Robertson, “refers both to the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole.”2 This space-time compression has in part been brought about by the spread of new communication technologies across the globe. Residents of Third World countries can gain easy access to the cultural products of the First World such as film, TV programs, popular music, and fashion. At first glance, it would seem that the primacy of the nation-state is fading and that cultural production and consumption occur frequently at the local, transnational, and global levels.3 Such a view seems to be confirmed by the global box-office success of the Hollywood blockbuster Titanic in 1998. This film has been widely seen all over the world, including in Chinese-speaking communities—mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong—and has even won the praise of Chinese president Jiang Zemin.4

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Roland Robertson, Globalization: SocialTheory and Global Culture (London: Sage Publications, 1992), 9.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    John Fiske, “Global, National, Local? Some Problems of Culture in a Postmodern World,” The Velvet Light Trap 40 (1997): 57.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Alan Riding, “Why Titanic Conquered the World,” New York Times (April 26, 1998), section 2:28.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Mike Featherstone, “Localism, Globalism, and Cultural Identity,” in Global/Local: Cultural Production and the Transnational Imaginary, ed. Rob Wilson and Wimal Dissanayake (Durham: Duke University Press, 1996), 58.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Roger Ebert, review of Red Corner, Chicago Sun-Times (October 1997); website—http://www.suntimes.com/ebert/ebert-reviews/1997/10/103102.html.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Kenneth Turan, “Corner: A Heavy-Handed Battle with Justice in China,” Los Angeles Times (October 31, 1997).Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Janet Maslin, “Red Corner: Melodrama-cum-Credibility Snag,” New York Times (October 31, 1997).Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    Roger Ebert, review of Kundun, Chicago Sun-Times (January 1998); website—http://www.suntimes.com/ebert/ebert-reviews/1998/01/011604.htmlGoogle Scholar
  9. 10.
    Stephen Holden, “Kundun: The Dalai Lama, Toddler to Grown Man, in Exile,” New York Times (December 24, 1997).Google Scholar
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    Kenneth Turan, “Kundun Lacks a Certain Presence,” Los Angeles Times (December 24, 1997).Google Scholar
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    Roger Ebert, review of Seven Years in Tibet, Chicago Sun-Times (October 1997); website—http://www.suntimes.com/ebert/ebert-reviews/1997/10/101003.htmlGoogle Scholar
  12. 13.
    Kenneth Turan, “More Pitt than Politics,” Los Angeles Times (October 8, 1997).Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    Kevin Thomas, “Lovingly Wrapped Chinese Box Transcends Melodrama,” Los Angeles Times (April 17, 1998).Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    For a detailed study, see Anne T. Ciecko and Sheldon H. Lu, “The Heroic Trio: Anita Mui, Maggie Cheung, and Michele Yeoh—Self-Reflexivity and the Globalization of the Hong Kong Action Heroine,” Post Script 19 (1999): 70–86, esp. 78–81.Google Scholar
  15. 17.
    Richard Corliss, “Once the transpacific princess of good films and bad, Joan Chen is now an award-winning auteur,” Time (April 5, 1999), 61.Google Scholar
  16. 18.
    Orville Schell, “Once a Shangri-La Where China Now Dominates,” New York Times (May 9, 1999), AR31.Google Scholar
  17. 20.
    For relevant discussions of the film, see Pu Feng, ed., 1997: Xianggang dianying huigu (1997: Retrospect of Hong Kong Cinema) (Hong Kong: Hong Kong Film Critics Society, 1999), 244–47.Google Scholar
  18. 21.
    For a detailed study of the two films, see Sheldon H. Lu, “Filming Diaspora and Identity: Hong Kong and 1997,” in The Cinema of Hong Kong: History, Form, Genre, ed. David Desser and Poshek Fu (London and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000).Google Scholar
  19. 22.
    See my “Filming Diaspora and Identity”; see also Yeh Yueh-yu, “A Life of Its Own: Musical Discourses in Wong Kar-wai’s Films” Post Script 19 (1999): 120–36.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Claire Sponsler and Xiaomei Chen 2000

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  • Sheldon H. Lu

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