Portrayal of Women in Cinema

2707 Words11 Pages
James Udden talks about ‘Transnational aesthetics’ and Stephen Teo talks about the connection between ‘genre’ and ‘national cinema identity’. Please discuss the terms comparing at least one Chinese language film with at least one Western film. This essay seeks to examine the representation of women within the genre of martial arts, specifically dealing with a comparison between the Chinese language film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the Western film Charlie’s Angels. In Crouching Tiger, as in the whole genre of wuxia itself, there exists a tension between both the national and transnational due to the fluid natures of genre and nation, an idea Stephen Teo writes about. And in Charlie’s Angels, we will see how it also represents the hybridization and transnationalization of film genres as proposed by Sheldon H. Lu in an essay, where he asserts that the adaptation of Hong Kong martial arts and also the casting of the Asian American Lucy Liu renders the film a multicultural one. These coincide with the concept of ‘Transnational aesthetics’ as mentioned by James Udden. However, I would also argue that the two movies fundamentally differ in the way that, while in Crouching Tiger Ang Lee gives audiences the transnational figure of Jen Yu, in the latter what we see are the figures of three women warriors who are highly sexualized and objectified. I would contend that this idea of the ‘male gaze’ which has been imposed upon the three women undercut their roles as transnational ‘women warriors’, a term Sheldon H. Lu bestows upon them. And in contrast to this, we will see how Jen Yu, despite being a femme fatale figure, is still portrayed as possessing the spirit of the wuxia – a genre Stephen Teo argues plays an important role in the construction of Chinese national cinema identity. To start, we will look at some of the points James Udden and Stephen Teo discuss in
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