chapter  4
15 Pages

Taiwan in Mainland Chinese cinema

ByROBERT CHI

When we speak of national cinema, we are really speaking of a relation, a series of questions, between nation and cinema. The problematizing of the nation as a modern social form is based on the axiom that the nation is not an a priori or natural category; rather, the nation is a man-made thing and therefore has a history. This in turn leads to two important and interrelated principles. First, the imagination of the Self implies recognition of an Other. This is the Lacanian psychoanalytical adaptation of the Saussurean linguistic principle of the negative differentiation of signs. Second, the modern social form of the nation itself circulates, develops, transforms, and means internationally. Both of these principles are at work in Benedict Anderson’s highly influential definition of nations as imagined communities: the performative imagining of this nation implies the recognition of a Benjaminian homogeneous, empty time-space occupied by other nations as well, and particular nationalisms can arise out of colonial, migrant, and exile cultures.