Danielle de Feo-Giet, having recently completed her DPhil at the University of Oxford, will be presenting a paper at this year's Association of Asian Studies Conference, being held in Toronto on March 16-19th.
Her paper, is entitled "Nan zai jiongtu: Crazy Journeys, Lost-ness and Resurgent Masculine “Chinese” Family Values in the Lost on Journey Series" it reveals the relationship between road movie comedies and the reinforcement of “Chinese” family values through class-bridging male-male friendship in the odd-couple popular comedy films of the Jiong tu series. These are: Lost on Journey (Yip, Raymond dir. ), Lost in Thailand (Xu, Zheng dir. ) and Lost in Hong Kong (Xu Zheng dir. ). The trilogy starts with a journey home for Spring Festival, in a film that achieved unexpected cult status, then moves to swanky hotels and wheezing tuk-tuks in Thailand, to martial arts adventures in Hong Kong. Contemporary cultural identities predicated on ‘the road’ (Bakhtin) emerge, and journeys lead to the reunification of families teetering on the brink. Through close visual, aural, and textual analysis, I track changes in style and content of these films as they swirl around their basic premise, influenced by socio-political and economic developments. Far from being dismissible light entertainment, in a society fearful of family breakdown and loss of moral centre instigated by the twin forces of economic migration and a surfeit of materialism, the privilege of laughter allow these films to bring innocent working class characters and socially alienated middle-managers together, crafting a patriarchal family-oriented Chinese-ness on screen. I suggest that the confusion of the protagonists’ ‘jiong tu’ embarrassment, their very lost-ness, constitutes a metaphor for the boggling rapidity of change. Uncertainty makes finding one's way difficult, but also potentially liberating, especially when modern family, friendships and the role of the male within them are being recast.
The paper will appear in a panel entitled The Politics of Mobility in Contemporary Chinese Literature and Film, organised by Dr. Pamela Hunt.
The panel will take place:
Thu, March 16 7:30pm to 9:30pm, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Dufferin
Hope to see you there!