Tsai Ming-liang and the Lost Emotions of the Flesh

Tsai Ming-liang and the Lost Emotions of the Flesh Tsai Ming-liang and the Lost Emotions of the Flesh Corrado Neri The cinematic universe of Tsai Ming-liang1 provides a matrix of representations of sentiments, erotica, and politics, and their interaction in the biopolitics of emotions.2 The work of the Malaysian-born Chinese filmmaker develops a gaze that is both internal and external, passionate and dispassionate, objective and subjective, and consequently extremely valuable for our analysis of the expression of emotion in a Chinese-speaking context.3 Tsai’s films focus principally on repressed emotions and desires, and their relation to moral norms, political representation, and the entire complex of Taiwanese society. In the following essay, I will offer some reflections on the complex interactions between the expression of emotion, a new and original cinematic vision, and a stringent social critique. Tsai’s films enable us to conceive a sort of archaeology of emotions, creating idealized yet grotesque images of “pure” emotions. For Tsai, “emotions” doi 10.1215/10679847-2008-006 Copyright 2008 by Duke University Press (ganqing) equals “love” (ai), in the broadest possible sense, encompassing: romantic love (lianai); passionate love (xingai); desire (yuwang); filial piety (xiaoshun); friendship (youyi); compassion (tongqing); and even the Confucian concept of benevolence (ren). Consider, for example, the provocative title Vive l’amour http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

Tsai Ming-liang and the Lost Emotions of the Flesh

positions asia critique, Volume 16 (2) – Sep 1, 2008

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
© 2008 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1067-9847
D.O.I.
10.1215/10679847-2008-006
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Tsai Ming-liang and the Lost Emotions of the Flesh Corrado Neri The cinematic universe of Tsai Ming-liang1 provides a matrix of representations of sentiments, erotica, and politics, and their interaction in the biopolitics of emotions.2 The work of the Malaysian-born Chinese filmmaker develops a gaze that is both internal and external, passionate and dispassionate, objective and subjective, and consequently extremely valuable for our analysis of the expression of emotion in a Chinese-speaking context.3 Tsai’s films focus principally on repressed emotions and desires, and their relation to moral norms, political representation, and the entire complex of Taiwanese society. In the following essay, I will offer some reflections on the complex interactions between the expression of emotion, a new and original cinematic vision, and a stringent social critique. Tsai’s films enable us to conceive a sort of archaeology of emotions, creating idealized yet grotesque images of “pure” emotions. For Tsai, “emotions” doi 10.1215/10679847-2008-006 Copyright 2008 by Duke University Press (ganqing) equals “love” (ai), in the broadest possible sense, encompassing: romantic love (lianai); passionate love (xingai); desire (yuwang); filial piety (xiaoshun); friendship (youyi); compassion (tongqing); and even the Confucian concept of benevolence (ren). Consider, for example, the provocative title Vive l’amour

Journal

positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2008

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