Journal article

Inventing Rituals: Cultural Politics in Zhang Yimou’s Historical Films

R O'Meara

Senses of Cinema | Senses of Cinema | Published : 2018


Zhang Yimou’s films Raise the Red Lantern (1991) and Judou (1990) were widely criticised for historical misrepresentation, because the rituals they represent are invented. They also attracted unprecedented interest in Chinese film from Western audiences. Close analysis demonstrates how the rituals depicted in these films allegorically represent techniques of social power within 1990s. Further, the invention of ritual in these films disrupts the citationality of ritual’s performative mode, thereby disturbing traditional ideas of cultural representation and authenticity. In these ways, Judou and Raise the Red Lantern can be read as critical of PRC and can be seen to address the politics of cro..

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University of Melbourne Researchers