Consumerist and ideological eco-imaginaries in the cinema of Feng Xiaogang

Corrado Neri (2013). China has a natural environment, too! Consumerist and ideological eco-imaginaries in the cinema of . Interactions,  pp.91-107. https://hal-univ-lyon3.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00835781

Abstract

Feng Xiaogang, the ‘Chinese Spielberg’, produces huge blockbusters and hilarious comedies directed at a broad audience. Although his work does not strictly deal with environmental issues, it provides us with a privileged perspective through which to analyse the discourses around the theme of nature. Feng Xiaogang’s works are not explicitly environmental, they do address the contradictions and differing anxieties linked to China’s economic and environmental development. For example, A World Without Thieves (Feng Xiaogang, 2004) employs the natural image of Tibetan mountains as a symbol of search for oneself and introspection, while it symbolically links Tibet to China, setting aside the political troubles that regularly hit the region. Likewise the stunning landscapes in If You are the One 1&2 (Feng Xiaogang, 2008 and 2010) sorry don’t understand; I mean: If You are the One (2008) and If You are the One 2 (2010) remind us of the importance of nature, rural surroundings, and the absence of human intervention within the changing of seasons, hinting at the same time at the dangers of losing such natural richness. Simultaneously these built-up, symbolic images refer to dreams of capitalist possession where nature turns into nothing but a marketing tool, a status symbol, a showcase of wealth and vanity parade. As forms of symbolic power imposed on the collective imagination and symptoms of the ever-growing need to be aware of the fragility of nature and the dangers of uncontrolled development, these films bring into play several contradictory discourses that cannot be ignored in the future development of China and Chinese cinema. Like every great producer of popular cinema, Feng Xiaogang produces narratives governed by the public and consumerist doxa, from which potentially subversive apprehensions emerge.

 Full text on the French multi-disciplinary open access archive HAL


Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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