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Chinese Gay Cinema - Essay Example

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This paper will not only discuss the issue of contemporary Chinese gay cinema and the impact and influence that it has on the country of China as well as on the Western world, but it will also discuss the different major directors who participate in this particular cinema forum…
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Chinese Gay Cinema
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Download file to see previous pages This research will begin with the statement that cinema actually arrived in China from the West in the year 1986, and this was one year after the Lumiere brothers showed their films in a café in Paris on December 28, 1895, a date which is generally considered as being the beginning of cinema in the world. Then, from the year 1905 on, with a constant influx of foreign films, China began to really develop its own film industry, working by merging Western technological intervention with rich resources from Chinese literacy and performing traditions. Chinese cinema, in general, is consistently reinventing itself with the emergence of new talents and forums, and one of the forums which has been most majorly reinvented recently is that of the contemporary Chinese gay cinema, which includes mainland, HK and Taiwan directors and their films, such as The Wedding Banquet, Farewell my Concubine, Lan Yu, Happy Together and Brokeback Mountain, for instance. All of these films are predominant of contemporary Chinese gay cinema, and yet at the same time, they have each been influenced at least in some way by Western cinema. Basically Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet has received a great deal of attention and incredibly wide acclaim from audiences and reviewers alike, and yet at the same time we see how a seemingly simple anecdote cited by Chris Berry in his article ‘Sexual Disorientations: Homosexual Rights, East Asian Films, and Postmodern Postnationalism’ has gone to throw a rather interesting twist on the overall reception of Lee’s film....
gone to throw a rather interesting twist on the overall reception of Lee's film, particularly at the 1993 Berlin International Film Festival; it is said that when international film critics met in Berlin to discuss their prize for the year, The Wedding Banquet is one which came up for consideration, and one elderly gentlemen in particular, from the People's Republic of China (PRC), the only Asian representative on the panel, strongly protested his opinion that Ang Lee's film should absolutely not be considered due to the fact that 'it was a lie'. This brings up the fact of how homosexuality is a forbidden topic in most Asian communities and how more specifically and significantly, there is really no need to talk about the issue because "it is only a problem for white people: 'it' is a disease" (Chaudhuri, 155).
However this does not go to say that homosexuality never existed in Chinese culture, as this elderly film critic from the PRC claimed, and as a matter of fact, the stories about gay relationships recorded in certain philosophical and historical texts as Hanfeizi (Han Fei, d.233 B.C.) and Hanshu (History of the Han, Ban Gu, 32-92 A.D.) date gay history all the way back to around the sixth century B.C. in China. Farewell my Concubine is a film which was in fact initially banned from China because of its political and homosexual aspects, and it is one which opens and closes with a scene in Beijing in 1977, immediately after the conclusion of the Cultural Revolution. The main body of the film is that of a flashback narrative of the life stories of two Peking opera actors, and "The storyline covers a particular historical era when China experienced radical political changes: starting from the warlord occupation of Beijing in 1924 to Japanese invasion from the 1930s ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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