Title

Social critiques and sentimentalism : on Wang Xiaoshuai’s so close to paradise

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Asian Cinema

Publication Date

9-2009

Volume

20

Issue

2

First Page

182

Last Page

192

Publisher

Intellect Ltd.

Abstract

As a key figure in the so-called “Sixth Generation” directors in China, Wang Xiaoshuai has attracted considerable attention in academics, both in China and in the West. His first “legal” film — a film that is officially authorized by the state-controlled filmmaking system in China — So Close to Paradise (Biandan guniang, 1996) deserves special attention. As a transitional film from the “underground” to “in-system” production, this film represents a salient transition in Wang’s filmmaking when he was facing the imperatives of art, state censorship, and commercialization. In this sense, it is also a locale where investigations of the problematics of Chinese film at the turn of the 21st Century can be fruitfully conducted.

This essay addresses the issue of Wang's transition by examining So Close to Paradise. Specifically, it focuses on how social critiques and sentimentalism are intricately interwoven in this film, and thus how the film's cultural agency is embedded in its popular appeal. By doing so, I intend to exhibit how the tension among the imperatives of aesthetics, politics, and commercialism shapes Wang's production, and how this film is symptomatic of the filmmaking in postsocialist China.

DOI

10.1386/ac.20.2.182_1

Print ISSN

1059440X

E-ISSN

20496710

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2009 Ingenta. Article copyright remains with the publisher, society or author(s) as specified within the article. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Gong, H. (2009). Social critiques and sentimentalism: on Wang Xiaoshuai’s so close to paradise. Asian Cinema, 20(2), 182-192. doi: 10.1386/ac.20.2.182_1