Volume 11, Issue 5 / May 2007

Issues of Representation

In this issue

For this issue Offscreen turns its gaze toward issues of representation. Although this category can, by definition, include a broad range of issues and matters (i.e. violence, nature, sexuality, class, etc.), the concern here will be with areas such as race, language, and Nationhood. The issue starts off with an analysis of Québécois filmmaker Pierre Perrault’s groundbreaking trilogy of films set around the small, rural community of Île-aux-Coudres. The films were made during a period (late 1960s’) of political awakening in Québec, which makes them all the more striking as vibrant snapshots of a Québec society poised between the past and the present. This is followed by two essays which share as their subject, the Chinese. Author Guan-Soon Khoo wrestles through the virtues and ambiguities of Zhang Yimou’s Hero, a film which, according to Khoo, negotiates between a Hollywood style blockbuster and a culturally savvy Chinese martial arts epic. Khoo analyzes the representation of Chinese history and cultural specificity, and offers a counter view to the many viewers and commentators (Chinese and American) who have attacked the film for its supposed positive depiction of tyranny and oppression for the sake of national unity. Krystle Doromal looks directly at the representation of Asian-Americans on screen, and how they have been continually stereotyped in Hollywood film. Doromal compares the roles and personas of two important Asian-American actresses of differing generations, Ann May Wong and Lucy Lui, arguing that they have both, in they respective manner, challenged the stereotyping of ‘Asian-ness’. Completing the focus on representation is Lindsey Rock’s essay on Elie Suleiman’s Tatiesque comedy of observation Chronicle of a Disappearance. Author Rock analyzes how the film’s stylistic use of fragmentation and repetition evokes the sense of displacement and fractured identity common to the everyday Palestinian experience. The final essay in this month’s issue features the fourth of author Robert Robertson’s continued original research on the more esoteric side of Sergei Eisenstein’s theoretical legacy. In this installment Robertson discusses conceptual parallels between the Russian master filmmaker/theorist and American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. (Donato Totaro, ed.)

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