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From Ah Q to Lei FengFreud and Revolutionary Spirit in 20th Century China$
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Wendy Larson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804700757

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804700757.001.0001

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The Workspace of a New Age Maoist

The Workspace of a New Age Maoist

He Jianjun's The Postman

Chapter:
(p.197) Six The Workspace of a New Age Maoist
Source:
From Ah Q to Lei Feng
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804700757.003.0007

This chapter examines He Jianjun's (He Yi) 1995 film The Postman, whose theme and aesthetics depend on a gendered narrative of labor. One important aspect of this gendered story is the film's perspective on generative social space, in which the protagonist grasps the logic of revolutionary spirit and tries to actualize it through his work. The film represents a depressed and fragmented society where the protagonist, Xiao Dou, lives and works, suggesting that cultural and ideological authority is dispersed into space and spatial relationships. The Postman offers an interesting take on the long historical discourse of consciousness, subjectivity, revolutionary spirit, and spiritual civilization. It also explores the contemporary debate about Chinese modernity and portrays contemporary Chinese society as a sensually oppressive set of small boxes. Although The Postman is not making a statement about sexuality and sexual desire, sexual relations remain an evident consequence in the film.

Keywords:   He Jianjun, The Postman, sexual desire, labor, social space, revolutionary spirit, consciousness, subjectivity, spiritual civilization, Chinese modernity

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