In Search of a Comparative Poetics: Cultural Translatability in Transnational Chinese Cinemas

Chan, Felicia (2007) In Search of a Comparative Poetics: Cultural Translatability in Transnational Chinese Cinemas. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis begins with the question of how a more comprehensive comparative poetics of cinema might be formulated - one that depends not on essentialised notions of culture accentuated by binary divisions but one that would need to take into consideration the multiple agencies and subjectivities that impact the cultural production, and reading, of a film.

The formulation of a constructive comparative poetics is necessary when building a case for the film's cultural translatability, especially in the face of the proliferation of cinema that is being increasingly identified as 'transnational.' The case is made by analysing examples of transnational Chinese cinemas as exemplified by the films of three directors, Zhang Yimou, Wong Kar-wai and Ang Lee, between 1991 and 2002. In each of these examples, I explore how the films negotiate the various cultural and national boundaries they invariably cross as they enter into the global circulation of film and media products.

Whilst I analyse the films in the contexts of the political and social histories of the various Chinese territories from which they appear to originate, I do not claim that they are merely products of those histories. The films are also products of economic and business networks, individual aesthetic choices on the part of the filmmakers, and a complex matrix of tastes and preferences exercised by their audiences, which may not necessarily be nationally or culturally demarcated. These elements constitute the boundaries of the notion of film cultures, the exploration of which I argue is a more productive approach than the more limited notion of ethnological cultures in the cultural analysis of cinema.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Daly, Macdonald
Keywords: comparative poetics, cultural translatability, transnational chinese cinema
Subjects: P Language and literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion pictures
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies
Item ID: 10386
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2008
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2017 08:31

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