Stephen Teo

in King Hu's A Touch of Zen

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9789622098152
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207110 | DOI:

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This chapter wraps up the discussion with several conclusions on the film's lasting value and influences. The book begins by suggesting that A Touch of Zen is a subversive work because of its feminist sensibility and sexual ambiguity. But by delivering a fantastic-marvelous conclusion that exposes one to the supernatural, the film appears to override the earthly human concerns of sexual roles and directs one to transcend them. One of the enduring conceits of the film is that Zen is basically identified as a feminine inspiration, symbolized in the form of the xia nü. The reality principle, which is that of human suffering and death, leads one to the Buddhist theme of redemption and transcendence. The Zen ending is a truly epic ending which reaches for that elusive object of universality, making the end section a highly subversive sequence.

Keywords: transcendence; feminist; A Touch of Zen; supernatural; Zen; sexual ambiguity; Buddhism; xia nü; redemption

Chapter.  4450 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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