Genre as Cultural Whimsy: Taking to the Road in The Bird People in China and Cold Fever
The tacit acknowledgment of an apparently borderless world brought on by economic, if not political, globalization has not altered the fiction of national borders in cinema. It is a fiction that continues to exert its conservatism, exemplified by such cultural protectionism as practised in France, South Korea and the People’s Republic of China against foreign products (Cowen 1998; Anon. 2006; Davis 2010). Cinema with cross-cultural themes occupies that liminal space between fiction and reality, as it sets out to subvert the fiction of national borders, while being subject to the material and discursive realities imposed by the agents of national border patrol, represented by such apparatus as passports, permits, funding structures, etc. The self-reflexivity of the kinds of cross-cultural cinema I shall address here finds voice in Naoki Sakai’s understanding of translation as a process that is ‘always complicit with the building, transforming, or disrupting of power relations’ (2006: 72). Translation, he argues, ‘always inscribes itself in the social topos of incommensurability and difference, and what [he] specifically call[s] cultural difference, to which translation is a response, is anterior to and fundamentally heterogeneous to the conceptual difference of species, the difference between particularities’ (2006: 71).
KeywordsNational Border Cultural Protectionism Historical Encounter Film Festival Liminal Space
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