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Imaginary Constructs as Instruments of Critical Engagement: Titanic Reference in Zhang Yimou’s The Road Home

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Focusing on the imaginary constructs, especially the Titanic posters in The Road Home, this paper studies their relevance, function, and significance in the film. By showing how, as necessary references, these imaginary constructs help viewers experience the absences, contradictions, and anxieties of contemporary Chinese life, this paper contends that they constitute the director’s critical insights into the complexity and the dynamics of Chinese culture and society in the process of globalization. With these imaginary constructs, Zhang Yimou turns Bao Shi’s simple story about the death of a dedicated school master into a serious contemplation of China’s contemporary reality.

Keywords: The Road Home; Titanic posters; cinematic creativity; contemporary Chinese life

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ac.14.2.35_1

Affiliations: Iowa State University

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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