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A Post-colonial Reading of Ang Lee’s Films

Author TanYunYing
Tutor LiYuFeng
School Hainan University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Orientalism cultural hybridization identity subversion
CLC I207.35
Type Master's thesis
Year 2010
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Nowadays, with the rapid development of globalization and frequent dialogues and exchanges between the East and the West, Cultural Studies has been aspired to be an important academic discipline and exercised a large influence on English studies, media, sociology and communication studies. Confronted with cultural shock and later cultural clash, the Chinese people are not only confused by the Western ideas in a condition of oppression, but also get frustrated under the restrictions of the traditional morals of thousands of years. Therefore they are yearning for a break. The films of Ang Lee have well featured this phenomenon and this director becomes a frequent winner because of his concern for these vital problems and his deep insight into them.In his films, Ang Lee has established an "imaginary world" coexisting in the eastern and Western values, exhibiting the human dilemma and the solutions, which is the main clue throughout his films. By creating a harmonious and peaceful solution for these kinds of dilemma in his eastern softness and way of thinking, Lee has been successful in establishing his unique "mirror" language.In his long journey of filmmaking, Ang Lee’s psychological development demonstrated in the films can be categorized into three stages. The first stage starts with his confusion in identity-seeking, being the Other while encountered cultural crash. In the second period, Ang Lee walks out of the state of being confused, begins to ponder over the cultural hybridization and exhibit it in the way the West can understand, and in the third stage, he attempts to redefine Chinese culture by successfully subverting the Western film and inserting the Chinese culture into the Western context.Based on this approach, this thesis picks up three representative films of Ang Lee’s, Wedding Banquet, Crouching Tigers, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain, with the application of Edward Said’s theory about Orientalism and Homi Bhabha’s cultural hybridization in the perspective of post-colonial study to the three films, mainly in the method of textual-analysis from viewpoints of Cultural Studies, tries to discuss the Lee’s success experiences recognized by the East and West, to explore how Lee, under the cultural background and commercial system of Hollywood, by imitating and learning the Western standards, infuses the native language of the nation into the public speech of international context, to break the confusion of "The Others", to clear up the imbroglio between the subject and the object. This thesis also intends to seek answers to the question how Ang Lee has managed to keep alive Chinese cultural roots, repositioned "Ⅰ" in the meanwhile and then succeeded in making their turns and new creations.

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