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Swordsman II: Performance and Performativity

  • Kim-mui E. Elaine ChanEmail author
Chapter
Part of the East Asian Popular Culture book series (EAPC)

Abstract

Drawing on C. Metz’s psychoanalytic film theory and J. Butler’s gender theory, this chapter identifies a strategy of cinematic-identification-cum-de-identification in Swordsman II: the East is Red which introduces a new dimension of making meanings and interpretations. The discussion begins with a critical examination of the persona of a female Hong Kong-Taiwanese artist. This chapter argues that the film puts the local viewers in a dilemma of de-identification. When the artist’s gender-specific body reenacts its respective gender-specific roles as at once male and female, it creates a visual conundrum. At different points of the film, the malleable performativity of this artist, substantiated diegetically in her ‘cross-dressed’ performance, creates ambiguous gender mis-recognition. While the film invokes a sense of ‘masculinity’ crisis, it also evokes genre expectations of film noir. As a result, the film destabilizes, differs and defers an interpretation of crises—personal, social, political and cultural.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Academy of FilmHong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloonHong Kong

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