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Deleuze and Chinese Cinemas (editorial)

This special edition was prompted by three conferences, held in the PRC and Taiwan in 2012 and 2013, on the ramifications of the work of Gilles Deleuze for research across a trans-disciplinary range of subjects. The three conferences – the “Kaifeng International Deleuze Studies Conference” at Henan University (2012), “Deleuze, Guattari and China” at the University of Nottingham at Ningbo (2012), and “The First International Deleuze Studies in Asia Conference” at Tamkang University (2013) – all included a significant discussion of Deleuze and Chinese films. Many of these contributions are collected in the pages that follow, along with several specifically commissioned additional works. The question which this introduction is required to answer is how this assemblage came about. Why would anyone think to study Chinese cinemas using a French philosopher like Deleuze? What can this approach add to our understanding of Chinese cinemas?

In the 1990s and 2000s, Deleuze’s two books on cinema (1983; 1985) moved from the periphery of Film Studies – where they subsisted as difficult to comprehend theoretical curios in relation to a field which was increasingly turning to film history – to the mainstream. As is evident from the sheer volume of work now listed on, Deleuze is now a fact of life in Film Studies. His ideas permeate work on films from all around the world, with research taking place across various continents, including on Asian cinemas. Yet this is in itself a little surprising, considering that Deleuze’s thinking regarding time and movement in cinema were based upon his observation of primarily US and European examples. Although he discusses some of the more internationally recognised Japanese auteurs whose films circulated at festivals in Europe, especially in Cinema 2 (e.g. Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu), there is no mention of Chinese films. This in spite of the international distribution of Hong Kong films in the years preceding the publication of the Cinema books. Therefore, the Eurocentrism of Deleuze’s conclusions, which have already received focused attention elsewhere (Martin-Jones 2011), might lead to the legitimate question being asked as to why we should consider Chinese cinemas using Deleuze.

Special Issue contains:

James A Steintrager, The Thirdness of King Hu: Wuxia, Deleuze and the Cinema of Paradox
David Martin-Jones, Remembering the Body: Deleuze's recollection-iimage and the spectacle of physical memory in Ip Man
Stephen Teo, Wind Blast: A Chinese Western in a nomadic plateau
David H Fleming, The cretive evolution and crystallization of the "bastard line": drifting from the rive gauche into Suzhou River
Matthew A Holtmeier, The wanderings of Jia Zhangke: pre-hodological space and aimless youths in Xiao Wu and Unknown Pleasures
Yun-hua Chen, Deleuze and Hou Hsiao-hsien's mosaic in Good Men, Good Women

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Author Name: 
Martin-Jones, David & Fleming, David H.
Journal of Chinese Cinemas, 8: 2 (2014)
Martin-Jones, David & Fleming, David H. (eds), Deleuze and Chinese Cinemas, Special Edition of Journal of Chinese Cinemas, 8:2 (2014):