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Research Article

Plasticity as Globality and Authenticity: The Re-represented Chinese Brazilians in Cidade de Plástico/ 荡寇/蕩寇/Plastic City (2008)

Author:

Francisco Y. Chen-López

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, US
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Abstract

The present article contends that the cinematic representation of the Chinese enclave in São Paulo, Brazil, along with the Chinese Brazilian characters in Plastic City (2008), are the product of a (self)-orientalization and exoticization process. While the plot takes place in Brazil, it is built on collective imaginations from Asia through plasticity, which has two dimensions. The definition of the first dimension draws on Bhaskar Sarkar’s theory of plasticity and globalization, which focuses on the mutability and flexibility of representations in a global context (452). As Plastic City is a cross-border collaboration from Asia for Asian spectators that engages these global representations, this research investigates how the transnational production process re-represents an exotic Orient in São Paulo. The other dimension of plasticity is based on Walter Benjamin’s theory of reproduced products and their auras (4) with a focus on how the re-representing process presents itself as an attempt to construct historical authenticity. This topic is symbolized through pirated goods and the film’s transnational production process, distribution, and reproducibility of plastic goods. This article also takes a cue from studies of the representation of Asia and Asian characters in Spanish and Latin American cinema, which is an area gaining increasing interest in recent years (Lu, Dávila Gonçalves, Vázquez Vázquez), by calling into question the often ignored or stigmatized population of the films.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.26824/lalr.279
How to Cite: Chen-López, F.Y., 2021. Plasticity as Globality and Authenticity: The Re-represented Chinese Brazilians in Cidade de Plástico/ 荡寇/蕩寇/Plastic City (2008). Latin American Literary Review, 48(97). DOI: http://doi.org/10.26824/lalr.279
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Published on 17 Nov 2021.
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