Remaking Ozu : Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Café Lumière

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Book chapter

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The poetics of Chinese cinema

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Palgrave Macmillan


Café Lumiere pairs the Ozu/Hou doublet with the Lumiere brothers, the legendary founding fathers of cinema. Café Lumiere, coffee shop under light, is more than a handy reference to a personal experience and an intercultural wordplay. It is also a historical conceit that offers a look back on historical phases. This chapter takes a direct approach (by way of segmentation) to note the textual correlatives, parallels, and inter-generational echoes, to reach an understanding of Hou's design in interweaving the life of a Tokyo woman with the history of cinema and Sino-Japanese cultural politics. By tracing the diegetic time of Café Lumiere, we find that Yoko's "uneventful" daily activities not only reveal epistemological clues of a young woman's desire in Tokyo, they also offer points of entry into Hou's revision of cinema and history.



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Copyright © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

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ISBN of the source publication: 9781137566089

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Recommended Citation

Yeh, E. Y.-y. (2016). Remaking Ozu: Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Café Lumière. In G. Bettinson & J. Udden (Eds.), The poetics of Chinese cinema (pp. 97-118). United States: Palgrave Macmillan.