Gender In Chinese Cinema Analysis

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Initially serving as the slogan of feminist movement, the statement, the personal is political, was later adopted to describe queerness as well, and gradually loses its edginess, receiving challenges and condemnation of “dehumanis[ing] the sense of humanity” (Manning 4), and the dangerous tendency of reducing individual particularities into a homogeneous group, which encourages the personal to depoliticise the queerness so that individual particularities can be given back to the discourse. However, in some particular moments, the statement still functions as a powerful weapon against heteronormativity, connecting the personal closely with the political. Taking Stanley Kwan’s documentary, Yang ± Yin: Gender in Chinese Cinema (1996) as an example,…show more content…
As revealed by Zhang Yuan, a Sixth Generation filmmaker who was going to make East Palace, West Palace, themed as Chinese homosexuality, he attempts to capture the paradigm shift of China by revealing how the marginal individuals are “in conflict with the society”, and the “homosexuals are most marginal figures in the whole of Chinese society”. Treating individual desire less as a sexual issue than a destructive weapon against straight social norm, his view is in line with Foucault who emphasises “homosexual mode of life” much more than “the sexual act itself” and believes queerness can help people “escape the two readymade formulas” and “reopen affective and relational virtualities” (136-138). Here, though loaded with political meanings, the personal queerness as a diverse discourse is not reduced to a “great community fusion” (138), but by contrast, the significance exactly lies on its irreducibility and formlessness. The openness of queer issues runs parallel with John Woo’s filmmaking. Notwithstanding refusing to regard his portrayal of male bonding as a conscious move, he does not mind “how the public takes such scenes or how they react to the film as a whole”. The freedom of interpretation he gives to the audiences shows how the personal feelings or relationships could be out of strict form and full of

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