Emergence of women’s cinema in China Being a woman in patriarchy has been a resonating theme in the Chinese films of the 1980s, where the narrative accorded women a central position in the purview of cinematic representation (Dissanayake 13). While the mainstream Chinese cinema of the 20th century was benchmarked on portraying martial arts in all its fury, there had been a diversion, albeit at a subliminal level, in the way women directors addressed gender discourses in relation to making of the modern Chinese society. However, one can find a blend of different opinions coming from women directors of contemporary Chinese cinema. Cui cites an interview where three well-known Chinese women directors talked about three distinct purposes behind filmmaking. Director of Sacrificed Youth Zhang Nuanxin candidly admitted that she was driven more by artistic impulses than by pledging allegiance to any particular genre of cinema, contextually ‘women’s cinema’. Maker of The Women’s Story Peng Xiaolian endorsed the idea that women’s cinema should by all means reflect “a woman’s psychology”, whereas Hu Mei insisted that films centered on women ought to be compelling enough to let the audience view the world before the camera from women’s perspectives .
When it comes to granting exclusivity to women’s cinema, very few directors from the Chinese diaspora could successfully negotiate the mammoth task of depicting women’s lives during the transnational shift in the 1990s. Hong Kong-based director Ann Hui is certainly amongst those rare breed of filmmakers who set a paradigm for understanding the concerns only women dealt with in times of handover. (Eleftheriotis and Needham 89). Hui’s Song of the Exile (1990) delineates with profound craftsmanship the intersections between political landscape and subjective memory, and examines the contours of individualism and interpersonal relationships. In years to come, Ann Hui would become the most revered Chinese woman director in Hong Kong, garnering international fame (Wang 35). Populated by female characters, the film analyses the agony of homecoming at a time of personal and national turmoil. Most importantly, Song of the Exile incites the viewers to support the feminine viewpoint embedded in the storyline (Naficy 233). Clara Law: Films at cultural crossroads Macau-born woman director Clara Law, who later migrated to Australia before the United Kingdom transferred sovereignty over Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China in 1997, is most well known for her directorial masterpieces Farewell, China (1990), Autumn Moon (1992), Floating Life (1996) and The Goddess of 1967 (2000). Law’s films powerfully deliver the message that gender identity is susceptible to falter under cross-cultural influence. The first three of the aforementioned films sketch the lives of young people roving from one continent to another in search of fortune. The concept of the Global Chinese, as posited by Marchetti, becomes pronounced in Law’s cinematic undertakings that draw migrant characters without any apparent homogeneity in class, ethnicity, age, or gender traveling around the globe