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date: 19 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Depictions of disability in Chinese-language films from China and Taiwan, once a rarity, have become mainstream since the 1980s and have shifted from critiquing national policies, historical accounts, and collective experiences to highlighting disabled people as complex characters and advocating for greater support for them. These films reveal how disability has become a positive source of identity in its own right. Films from the late 1980s and early 1990s such as Tian Zhuangzhuang’s The Blue Kite use disability to offer critiques of official policies or alternative accounts of historical events. Zhou Sun’s Breaking the Silence and Xue Xiaolu’s Ocean Heaven, which focus on caregiving parents and their disabled children, reveal the need for private, extragovernmental networks of support as well as greater government support for those with disabilities and their families. Finally, films such as Zhang Yimou’s Happy Times feature characters with impairments living rich and rewarding lives, countering stereotypes about disability.

Keywords: China, Taiwan, film, disability, impairment, blindness, muteness, hearing impairment, amputation, autism

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