Summary and Info
At the turn of the twenty-first century, Chinese filmmakers produced a great number of films portraying male homosexuality. Prominent examples include the interracial New York couple in The Wedding Banquet, the flâneurs sojourning from Hong Kong to Buenos Aires in Happy Together, the cross-dressing opera queen in Farewell My Concubine, and the queer oeuvre of Tsai Ming-liang and Stanley Kwan. Celluloid Comrades offers a cogent analytical introduction to the representation of male homosexuality in Chinese cinemas within the last decade. It posits that representations of male homosexuality in Chinese film have been polyphonic and multifarious, posing a challenge to monolithic and essentialized constructions of both "Chineseness" and "homosexuality." Given the artistic achievement and popularity of the films discussed here, the position of "celluloid comrades" can no longer be ignored within both transnational Chinese and global queer cinemas. The book also challenges readers to reconceptualize these works in relation to global issues such as homosexuality and gay and lesbian politics, and their interaction with local conditions, agents, and audiences.Tracing the engendering conditions within the film industries of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, Song Hwee Lim argues that the emergence of Chinese cinemas in the international scene since the 1980s created a public sphere in which representations of marginal sexualities could flourish in its interstices. Examining the politics of representation in the age of multiculturalism through debates about the films, Lim calls for a rethinking of the limits and hegemony of gay liberationist discourse prevalent in current scholarship and film criticism. He provides in-depth analyses of key films and auteurs, reading them within contexts as varied as premodern, transgender practice in Chinese theater to postmodern, diasporic forms of sexualities.Celluloid Comrades is situated at the crossroads of gender and sexuality studies, film and cinema studies, and Chinese studies. Informed by cultural and postcolonial studies and critical theory, this acutely observed and theoretically sophisticated work will be of interest to a wide range of scholars and students as well as general readers looking for a deeper understanding of contemporary Chinese cultural politics, cinematic representations, and queer culture.