Please remember to use quotes from the readings in your answer. When you insert a quote from the readings, don’t forget to note exactly where the quote comes from. Please use footnotes or endnotes, and include the author, title, and page number of the source of your quote.
A. PLEASE WATCH the film “Lan Yu” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBpmkMVqs_o
Answer the following questions: What do you make of the ending of this movie?
Why do you think the story ends this way? How does the ending compare to the
ending of “Farewell My Concubine” for example (why must they both end so
tragically)? Both end with a death, one suicide one accidental.
B. READ David Eng, “The Queer Space of China,” in positions: east asia cultures critique, 2010, vol. 18, no. 2, special issue on “Beyond the Strai(gh)ts: Transnationalism and Queer Chinese Politics,” ed. Liu, Petrus and Lisa Rofel: 459-486. Answer the following questions: How does Eng explain the film’s references to the events of 1989? What is the significance of that date in the film and for the plot according to Eng? How does Eng explain the death of the main character at the end?
C. READ Martin, Fran. “Critical Presentism: New Chinese Lesbian Cinema”
(partial chapter, on “Fish and Elephant”), in Backward Glances: Contemporary Chinese
Cultures and The Female Homoerotic Imaginary, Durham: Duke University Press, 2010:
Answer the following questions: According to Martin, are “underground” films
like Fish and Elephant available in Mainland China, or are they virtually impossible
to find? What does Martin mean by “vertical” vs. “horizontal” time in the film?
How does the lesbian “vertical” narrative of the film disrupt the “horizontal”
narratives of heterosexuality in the film? (What does Martin mean when she
writes on 172/149 that “Rather than the teleological chain of cause-and-effect
events associated with the film’s horizontal movement, the scenes dwell on the
subjective and poetic qualities of the isolated moment, with little action or narrative
progression”?) In your opinion is the lesbian “space” represented in the film a
“utopian” space/utopian alternative to hetero/conventional marriages in the film?