‘Reading’ the Cinema of Zhang Yimou: Between the Chinese and the Global

Armida de la Garza


How are national identities transformed? If they are mostly narratives of belonging to a community of history and destiny to which people subscribe, those boundarymaking procedures that constitute the political field by instituting difference can provide a tentative answer to this question. This paper is concerned with one such cultural practice, namely film viewing. Globalisation, a boundary-blurring practice, has been the backdrop against which transformations in national identity are often discussed, either bemoaned as cultural imperialism or celebrated as ongoing hybridisation. This piece of research took Zhang Yimou’s controversial film “Hero” as a point of departure, and asked groups of Chinese audiences how they understood the Chinese identity it conveys. Although it is still a work in progress, provisional results are reported below.


popular music; music genres; sound; analysis

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