Recycled Heroes, Invented Tradition and Transformed Identity

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Global Chinese Cinema: The Culture and Politics of 'Hero', 2010, First, pp. 27 - 42
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The recent resurgence of interest in the People's Republic of China (PRC) in the story of the King of Qin, later the First Emperor (Qin Shihuang, 259-210 BeE) after China was united, is quite remarkable. In the last decade alone, he has been the subject of at least three films, two mUlti-episode TV dramas and a documentary film, in addition to numerous books and websites, which have involved large numbers of Qin Shihuang enthusiasts in the Chinese diaspora as well as some of China's most prominent writers, filmmakers, directors and actors. Zhang Yimou' s Hero stands out from this genre not only because it was the most expensive Chinese blockbuster before Chen Kaige' s The Promize (Wu ji, 2005) and China's No.1 boxoffice success, but also because it has been one of the most controversial films in recent years (Guo, 2003).
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