Virtual bodies, flying objects: the digital imaginary in contemporary martial arts films
Author: Lee, Vivian
Source: Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Volume 1, Number 1, 12 December 2006 , pp. 9-26(18)
Abstract:The international success of contemporary martial arts films has stimulated critical debates and reflections on the aesthetics, politics, and economics of local/national Chinese cinemas, as well as the ideological implications of reinventing a traditional genre for international audiences, against the backdrop of increasingly interpenetrable national and cultural borders brought on by the forces of globalization. This article attempts to delineate an extra dimension of the martial arts film in the global context the creation of a digital imaginary that not only reinforces and supplements the more conventional modes of representation, but also enables a universal frame of reference that contributes to the global currency of martial arts films. Drawing upon Zhang Yimou's Hero (2002) and House of Flying Daggers (2004), and Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer (2001) and Kung Fu Hustle (2004), it will illustrate how this digital imaginary displaces the exotic (Chinese) tradition into the familiar realm of digital media, resulting in a hybrid, multiply coded, culturally ambiguous, and therefore transnational visual medium for global consumption.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2006-12-12
- Journal of Chinese Cinemas is a major refereed academic publication devoted to the study of Chinese film, drawing on the recent world-wide growth of interest in Chinese cinemas. An incredibly diverse range of films has emerged from all parts of the Chinese-speaking world over the last few years, with an ever increasing number of border-crossing collaborative efforts prominent among them. These exciting developments provide abundant ground for academic research.
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