This paper analyzes from an interart perspective the cultural impact of Steven Chow’s cult movie A Chinese Odyssey, which is very much a postmodern “translation” of the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. The deconstructive power of this movie lies in the spatialization of the visual, the nonlinearized dialogue, and the juxtapositon of both to a greater effect. Ironically the seemingly decanonizing process turned into a glorifying recanonization, shaping A Chinese Odyssey into a new classic which is followed and imitated extensively through intermedial practice. It is no coincidence that Chow’s rise to fame synchronizes with the boom of the net culture of China. I will take the example of Jin Hezai’s famous online novel The story of Monkey King , which is deeply influenced by A Chinese Odyssey, to show how the internet provides an ahistorical space for the Chinese who are desperately breaking out of all kinds of confinement while seeking a new spirituality, and how they readily have recourse to Chow’s boundary crossing movies. In so doing, I hope to develop a theoretical basis on which the correlation between media transformation and its political, historical, and cultural implication could be further explored.
David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies
Yan, Feng. Metamorphosis and Mediality: An Interart Aproach to the Reception of Stephen Chow’s A Chinese Odyssey in Mainland China. Hong Kong: David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies, 2007. LEWI Working Paper Series no 68.