Sentimental Fabulations, Contemporary Chinese Films: Attachment in the Age of Global Visibility

Sentimental Fabulations, Contemporary Chinese Films: Attachment in the Age of Global Visibility

by Rey Chow


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What is the sentimental? How can we understand it by way of the visual and narrative modes of signification specific to cinema and through the manners of social interaction and collective imagining specific to a particular culture in transition? What can the sentimental tell us about the precarious foundations of human coexistence in this age of globalization?

Rey Chow explores these questions through nine contemporary Chinese directors (Chen Kaige, Wong Kar-wai, Zhang Yimou, Ann Hui, Peter Chan, Wayne Wang, Ang Lee, Li Yang, and Tsai Ming-liang) whose accomplishments have become historic events in world cinema. Approaching their works from multiple perspectives, including the question of origins, nostalgia, the everyday, feminine "psychic interiority," commodification, biopolitics, migration, education, homosexuality, kinship, and incest, and concluding with an account of the Chinese films' epistemic affinity with the Hollywood blockbuster Brokeback Mountain, Chow proposes that the sentimental is a discursive constellation traversing affect, time, identity, and social mores, a constellation whose contours tends to morph under different historical circumstances and in different genres and media. In contemporary Chinese films, she argues, the sentimental consistently takes the form not of revolution but of compromise, not of radical departure but of moderation, endurance, and accommodation. By naming these films sentimental fabulations-screen artifacts of cultural becoming with irreducible aesthetic, conceptual, and speculative logics of their own-Chow presents Chinese cinema first and foremost as an invitation to the pleasures and challenges of critical thinking.

About theAuthor:
Rey Chow is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Brown University

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231133326
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 03/27/2007
Series: Film and Culture Series
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Rey Chow is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Brown University where she holds appointments in comparative literature, English, and modern culture and media. The books she has authored since 1991 include Woman and Chinese Modernity, Writing Diaspora, Primitive Passions, Ethics After Idealism, The Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism, and The Age of the World Target.
Rey Chow is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities in the Department of Comparative Literature at Brown University. She is the author of Woman and Chinese Modernity (Minnesota, 1991), Writing Diaspora (Indiana, 1993), Primitive Passions (Columbia, 1995), Ethics After Idealism (Indiana, 1998), and The Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism (CUP, 2002).

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments Note on Transcriptions Introduction Part I: Remembrance of Things Past
1 The Seductions of Homecoming: Temptress Moon and the Question of Origins
2 Nostalgia of the New Wave: Romance, Domesticity,a nd the Longing for Oneness in Happy Together
3 The Everyday in The Road Home and In the Mood for Love: From the Legacy of Socialism to the Potency of Yuan Part II: Migrants' Lore, Women's Options
4 Autumn Hearts: Filming Feminine "Psychic Interiority" in Song of the Exile
5 By Way of Mass Commodities: Love in Comrades, Almost a Love Story
6 All Chinese Families are Alike: Biopolitics in Eat a Bowl of Tea and The Wedding Banquet Part III: Picturing the Life to Come...

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E. Ann Kaplan

A brilliant new book... Essential for all literary, cinema, and cultural studies scholars.

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