In-visibility: the sentimental in Chinese cinema since the 1990s

Miao, Hui (2012). In-visibility: the sentimental in Chinese cinema since the 1990s. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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The greater visibility of Chinese films brought by the wider global access and circulation has not satisfied the culturally specific understanding of Chinese cinema. The subject/object power relations stemming from the legacy of colonial and postcolonial discourse hinders the arrival of a better-balanced cross-cultural reading. The visibility of cinema provides a visual spectacle, it also challenges the audience with a communication of the epistemic side of visibility which feeds the images meaning and imagination and facilitates a more balanced culturally specific understanding. However, the epistemic side of visibility remains invisible under power-engaged cross-cultural reading. This study suggests that the sentimental provides a possibility for a better-balanced cross-cultural understanding through its provision of empathic connection with the culture, history and the psyche.
Home-longing/homecoming is claimed to the basis that the Chinese culture is built upon. Defined as the sentimental, this affective mode has been manifested across Chinese cinema abundantly through visual representation. The various articulations of the sentimental in face of the global and transnational homogeneous force further prove the deep-rootedness of the sentimental. The sentimental fashions as an affective link that establishes an empathic engagement in cross-cultural analysis. Through reading eight Chinese films made since the 1990, this study illustrates the relationship between the visual spectacle and the sentimental in Chinese cinema. Although the eight films are all from mainland Chinese directors, this study is carried out with the awareness of the sharing of Chinese culture within the Chinese language cinema where this study locates.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR


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