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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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Extracting Revolutionary Spirit

Extracting Revolutionary Spirit

Jiang Wen's In the Heat of the Sun and Anchee Min's Red Azalea

(p.155) Five Extracting Revolutionary Spirit
From Ah Q to Lei Feng
Stanford University Press

This chapter examines the work of filmmaker Jiang Wen, In the Heat of the Sun (1994), and expatriate writer Anchee Min, Red Azalea (1994). Both Jiang Wen and Anchee Min link sexual desire with the spirit of the revolution and apply a mystical approach that signals an underlying concept of transcendence. In the Heat of the Sun offers a novel interpretation of China's Cultural Revolution and rewrites the dominant narrative of trauma, violence, and dislocation. Red Azalea tackles an overarching mysticism that unites and expresses both revolutionary spirit and sexual desire while creating an imaginary spiritual Maoism out of and as resistance to political Maoism. It also describes the Cultural Revolution experience as profoundly, if secretly, sensual and erotic. Anchee Min associates sexual liberation with political progressiveness and argues that the defunct Chinese revolutionary state has lost its spirit, thus becoming hypocritical and essentially false.

Keywords:   Jiang Wen, In the Heat of the Sun, Anchee Min, Red Azalea, sexual desire, mysticism, Cultural Revolution, China, revolutionary spirit, Maoism

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