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Women in Chinese Martial Arts Films of the New Millennium

Women and Gender in Chinese Martial Arts Films of the New Millennium, by Ya-chen Chen, examines underexposed gender issues in more recent films, focusing on the contradictory feminism in the film narratives. Through the lens of Chinese martial arts films, Chen delves into "Chinese cinematic martial arts feminism," highlighting the glass ceiling which marks the maximal exercise of feminism which the patriarchal order is willing to accept.
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Table of Contents

Introduction. Towards Social-Cultural and Historical Readings: "Chinese Cinematic Martial Arts Feminism" and Its Limitation in the narrative of Martial Arts Films Part 1. Narrative Analyses of Women and Gender Concerns in Every Film Chapter 1. The Fox, Dragon, and Lotus in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Chapter 2. To (En)gender the Gendered History in Hero Chapter 3. There is a Beauty in the Door(way) of Flying Daggers Chapter 4. Women Who Do Not Practice Martial Arts in Seven Swords Chapter 5. Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty in The Promise Chapter 6. The Chinese Hamlet's Two Women and Shakespeare's Chinese Sisters: Qing Nu and Wan'er in The Banque Chapter 7. Traffic of Madwomen in the Chinese Royal Attic: Gender Concerns in Curse of the Golden Flower Part 2. Integrated Analyses about the Limitation of Feminist Emancipation in Groups of Films Chapter 8. Let's Make a Wish: Martial Arts Ladies' Wishes under the Cinematic Pen(is) from A Touch of Zen to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Hero, House of Flying Daggers, and The Promise Chapter 9. Phallocentric Teacher-Student Complex: From Legend of the Mountain, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and Hero to Seven Swords Chapter 10. A Chinese Cinematic Martial Arts Room of Pygmalion's Own Part 3. Interviews Chapter 11. Interview with Chung Ling, King Hu's Spouse and Screenwriter Chapter 12. Interview with Pan Hua, a Female Classmate and Peer-Director of Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Tian Zhuangzhuang, Wu Ziniu, Li Shaohong, Hu Mei, and Peng Xiaolian Chapter 13. Interview with Tsai Kuo-jung, a Co-planner and Screenwriter of Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Chapter 14. Interview with Wang Wei, a Judge in the Golden Horse Film Festival

About the Author

Ya-chen Chen is an assistant professor of foreign languages and literature, and director of the Chinese Language Program at Clark University.


Ya-Chen Chen's Women in Chinese Martial Arts Films of the New Millenium is a full-length, intensive and passionate interrogation of the feminist possibilities of Chinese martial arts cinema. Film by film, Chen shows both the achievements of their contemporaries and how those achievements are at the pleasure of the men who control the industry. The result is a major intervention in the ongoing debate. -- Chris Berry, Goldsmiths, University of London A refreshing look at an age-old genre that injects an energetic feminist perspective into the jaded analysis of a Chinese cinematic legacy. -- Ying Zhu, author of Television in Post-Reform China: Serial Dramas, Confucian Leadership and Global Television Market

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