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Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

Front. Lit. Stud. China    2017, Vol. 11 Issue (2) : 329-351‐006‐017‐0014‐2
Orginal Article |
The Exhausted Narrative in Tsai Ming‐Liang’s Films
Ella Raidel()
Institute of Fine Arts and Cultural Studies, Art University Linz, 4020 Linz, Austria
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This paper sets out to examine the “exhausted narrative” in aesthetic and poetic experience, revealing the affect and effect of Tsai Ming‐Liang’s film‐making. He is notable for his obsession with ruins, defunct construction sites, abandoned buildings, and film itself as a modern ruin. These sites are a reminder of the alienated subjects within its historical context, a fragmented narrative, and an uncertain or failed future to come, just like the ruin―a chapter of a halted story. Tsai’s films are not only full of ruinous images and bodies, but even the fragmented narratives are ruinous, turning in elliptical circles, aiming toward their morbid ending until their total exhaustion. This cinematic ouroboros ophis will be discussed in two aspects: first, as an aesthetic practice, and second, as the parallelism between the onand off‐screen reality of the mode of production and reception in the cinematic experience. The term “exhausted narratives” refers to the processes of writing meta‐fiction, as that of “re‐orchestrating” and “re‐editing” the past with respect to the present, and to inscribing Tsai’s own narrative universe.

Keywords Tsai Ming‐Liang      ruin cinema      sinophone cinema      exhausted narrative      meta language      post‐colonial aesthetics     
Issue Date: 22 August 2017
 Cite this article:   
Ella Raidel. The Exhausted Narrative in Tsai Ming‐Liang’s Films[J]. Front. Lit. Stud. China, 2017, 11(2): 329-351.
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