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October 1997, Week 2


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Nick Chapman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 9 Oct 1997 12:52:22 -0800
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In Hongkong cinema, there are in fact a surprising number of films that
deal intelligently with race, gender and sexual orientation (less so with
class it seems).  The director Shu Kei is particularly interesting.  Check
on Hu-Du-Men (1996) and A Queer Story (1997).  The later is one of the most
intelligent "mainstream" (narrative, commercial, intended for a
wide-audience, high production values, etc.) films I have seen on gay male
identity and both are terrific entertainment value.  They have the added
benefit of showing your students that more comes out of HK than action pics.
You should also check out Bhaji on the Beach - about an Indian woman in
Britain, her generational/cultural struggle, relationship with a black man,
etc. - which could be paired with Mississippi Masala, a film that basically
traverses the same terrain in America.  Both are interesting (but
particularly Masala) for interrogating any simple notion of an "Indian"
identity which is maintained/abandoned in relation to the new Anglo
culture/identity.  Good postcolonial/postmodern fair.  Both directed by
From Japan, you should check out Okoge, which is about a young woman and
the group of gay men she gets involved with.
Class is, as usual, the missing term.  I'll have to do some thinking here,
but two American "strike" movies come to mind.  John Sayles Matewan touches
on both class and race, while the infamous blacklisted Salt of the Earth
deals with race, class AND gender, and there is enough critical work on
both, especially Salt, to make them good teaching films.
   Nick Chapman [log in to unmask]
   Program in American Culture, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI
48109-1027      USA
   There can, of course, be no apolitical scholarship.  -- Chandra Talpade
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