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Moving FiguresClass and Feeling in the Films of Jia Zhangke$
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Corey Kai Nelson Schultz

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474421614

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474421614.001.0001

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The Soldier: From Degraded Reproduction to Avenging Hero

The Soldier: From Degraded Reproduction to Avenging Hero

(p.84) Chapter 3 The Soldier: From Degraded Reproduction to Avenging Hero
Moving Figures

Corey Kai Nelson Schultz

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter 3 analyzes the figure of the soldier. It examines the positive structures of feelings of honor and bravery that were associated with this figure during the Maoist era, which emphasized the army’s spirit of “serving the people” and the benevolent protection of the state, and argues that the absence of this lauded figure serves as a potent reminder of the disappearance of these noble qualities and feelings in contemporary society. It then examines the figure’s “appearance” in simulacra in the films – the police officers, security guards, and entertainers who dress up as soldiers – and argues that these imitation and substitute figures are degraded in the films, thus emphasizing the loss of these noble Maoist qualities in the Reform era. It concludes by analyzing the soldier wuxia (martial arts) hero in A Touch of Sin, arguing that this heroic, vengeful figure symbolizes the immediate need to address social and economic disparity, and heralds a shift in Jia’s oeuvre from mourning the demise of the Maoist classes to demanding redress for their plight.

Keywords:   Soldier, People’s Liberation Army, Wuxia

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