Queering Chinese-language cinemas: Stanley Kwan's Yang ± Yin: Gender in Chinese cinema

Chia Chi Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The essay analyzes Stanley Kwan's Nansheng nüxiang / Yang±Yin: Gender in Chinese Cinema (1996), and deals with the tension as provoked by the film between the polemics of cultural, diasporic identity and the globally circulated discourses of queer sexualities. I see the film as simultaneously resonating with a culturalist construction of Chinese identity and 'postmodern fetishizing of sexual identities'. In its queering of Chinese-language film- reclaiming or recreating Chinese texts for queer interpretation - Yang±Yin undercuts heteronormativity and patriarchy foundational to nationalist discourses of Chinese communities and creates a queer imaginary that is 'pan-Chinese'. In this regard, the documentary illustrates both the 'out' politics championed by western queer activism and the diasporic gay politics of counteracting national identity with minority sexuality. Yet reading Yang±Yin in this vein overlooks the textual elements that gesture towards the 'Greater (Cultural) China', an ideology that presupposes the shared cultural heritage, economic reintegration, as well as historical continuity among Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. By use of Yang±Yin, I explore issues of visibility as they bear upon both queer subjects and Chinese-language cinemas and the changing conception of Chinese-language film as part of world queer cinema.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-53
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Mar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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