Sentimental Fabulations, Contemporary Chinese Films

Attachment in the Age of Global Visibility

Rey Chow

Columbia University Press

Sentimental Fabulations, Contemporary Chinese Films

Pub Date: March 2007

ISBN: 9780231133333

288 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£25.00

Pub Date: March 2007

ISBN: 9780231133326

288 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£74.00

Pub Date: March 2007

ISBN: 9780231508193

288 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£25.00

Sentimental Fabulations, Contemporary Chinese Films

Attachment in the Age of Global Visibility

Rey Chow

Columbia University Press

What is the sentimental? How can we understand it by way of the visual and narrative modes of signification specific to cinema and through the manners of social interaction and collective imagining specific to a particular culture in transition? What can the sentimental tell us about the precarious foundations of human coexistence in this age of globalization?

Rey Chow explores these questions through nine contemporary Chinese directors (Chen Kaige, Wong Kar-wai, Zhang Yimou, Ann Hui, Peter Chan, Wayne Wang, Ang Lee, Li Yang, and Tsai Ming-liang) whose accomplishments have become historic events in world cinema. Approaching their works from multiple perspectives, including the question of origins, nostalgia, the everyday, feminine "psychic interiority," commodification, biopolitics, migration, education, homosexuality, kinship, and incest, and concluding with an account of the Chinese films' epistemic affinity with the Hollywood blockbuster Brokeback Mountain, Chow proposes that the sentimental is a discursive constellation traversing affect, time, identity, and social mores, a constellation whose contours tends to morph under different historical circumstances and in different genres and media. In contemporary Chinese films, she argues, the sentimental consistently takes the form not of revolution but of compromise, not of radical departure but of moderation, endurance, and accommodation. By naming these films sentimental fabulations—screen artifacts of cultural becoming with irreducible aesthetic, conceptual, and speculative logics of their own—Chow presents Chinese cinema first and foremost as an invitation to the pleasures and challenges of critical thinking.
a thought-inspiring work of scholarship Journal of Film and Video
[Chow] captivates us with her challenging and refreshing arguments. Highly recommended. Library Journal
A thoughtful discussion of nine contemporary Chinese directors and their cinematic accomplishments. James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review
Through Chow's perspective, the sentimental thus becomes a productive and promising concept for understanding national cinema. Kristi McKim, Film Quarterly
Chow's scholarship is consistently superior in its provocative arguments for humanistic concerns and its impressive coverage of secondary sources. Howard Y. F. Choy, Wittenberg University, The China Journal
Sentimental Fabulations, Contemporary Chinese Films is a thought-inspiring work of scholarship. Jie Li, Journal of Film and Video
Preface and Acknowledgments
Note on Transcriptions
Introduction
Part I: Remembrance of Things Past
1 The Seductions of Homecoming: Temptress Moon and the Question of Origins
2 Nostalgia of the New Wave: Romance, Domesticity,a nd the Longing for Oneness in Happy Together
3 The Everyday in The Road Home and In the Mood for Love: From the Legacy of Socialism to the Potency of Yuan
Part II: Migrants' Lore, Women's Options
4 Autumn Hearts: Filming Feminine "Psychic Interiority" in Song of the Exile
5 By Way of Mass Commodities: Love in Comrades, Almost a Love Story
6 All Chinese Families are Alike: Biopolitics in Eat a Bowl of Tea and The Wedding Banquet
Part III: Picturing the Life to Come...
7

About the Author

Rey Chow is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Brown University where she holds appointments in comparative literature, English, and modern culture and media. The books she has authored since 1991 include Woman and Chinese Modernity, Writing Diaspora, Primitive Passions, Ethics After Idealism, The Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism, and The Age of the World Target.
Rey Chow is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities in the Department of Comparative Literature at Brown University. She is the author of Woman and Chinese Modernity (Minnesota, 1991), Writing Diaspora (Indiana, 1993), Primitive Passions (Columbia, 1995), Ethics After Idealism (Indiana, 1998), and The Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism (CUP, 2002).