China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

4 - To Live, Love, and Thrive: Women, Globalization, and Spatial Politics in Xu Jinglei’s Films

Thursday, March 22
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Maryland Suite B, Lobby Level

As the first female director with box-office earnings of over 100 million RMB, the actress-turned-director Xu Jinglei has established herself as one of the most prominent and commercially successful female directors in Mainland China with six directorial features. Searching for new ways to represent women and the facets of their experience, Xu Jinglei explores issues pertinent to women and the questions of gender, power, and female subjectivity in all her films. What binds her films together despite their diverse range of subject matter is Xu Jinglei’s conscious exploration of the politics of space and its relationship with the representation of women. This paper aims to examine the struggles of the female protagonists to live, love and thrive in the age of rapid globalization through the lens of space and place in Xu Jinglei’s three films, Go Lala Go! (2010), Dear Enemy (2011), and Somewhere Only We Know (2015). Space in these three films functions not merely as a location where stories unfold, but also as a site for Xu’s investigation of the impact of globalization on the spatial order of contemporary China as well as women’s pursuit of love and empowerment. I argue that these three films demonstrate Xu’s endeavors to shift the cinematic representation of women from the national to the personal, from the local to the global through the examination of the space of self-discovery and fulfillment opened up for women by the forces of globalization that disrupt the traditional social and economic structures. 

Yanhong Zhu

Washington and Lee University, Virginia

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4 - To Live, Love, and Thrive: Women, Globalization, and Spatial Politics in Xu Jinglei’s Films



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