Porn Power: Sexual and Gender Politics in Li Han-hsiang’s <i>Fengyue</i> Films<sup>1</sup>

Yau Ching

in As Normal as Possible

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9789622099876
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206625 | DOI:
Porn Power: Sexual and Gender Politics in Li Han-hsiang’s Fengyue Films1

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This chapter seeks to queer a part of Hong Kong cinema history considered to be most heteronormative through studying some of the most controversial works of one of the most prolific and influential Chinese filmmakers. It specifically reviews the radical potential of the fengyue porn genre populated by nonmonogamous subjects and yinfus in dialoguing with Li Han-hsiang's own historical epics — primarily narratives of shrews and abject men — as well as “talking back to” (and laughing at) the increasingly normalizing times that through regulatory privatizing apparatuses privilege the modern monogamous marriage. It also examines the various ways in which Li's fengyue complicates the genre of pornography through subverting the sexual hierarchies assumed by film critics, inventing Chinese pornography as a different modernity than the colonial-Western, and seducing the audience — including men, women, and in betweens — through strategies such as recentering women's and polygamists' sexual and cross-gendered agency, and use of multiple perspectives and self-reflexive devices. In rewriting some of the possible meanings of some of Li Han-hsiang's key fengyue films, this essay seeks not to uncover the “truths” of sex or of porn, but rather to explore the various subject positions enabled by these texts and their authorship.

Keywords: Li Han-hsiang; porn; Hong Kong; cinema history; fengyue films; yinfus; sex

Chapter.  8874 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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