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The Cinema of Ang LeeThe Other Side of the Screen$
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Whitney Crothers Dilley

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231167734

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231167734.001.0001

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Confucian Values and Cultural Displacement in Pushing Hands

Confucian Values and Cultural Displacement in Pushing Hands

(p.49) Three Confucian Values and Cultural Displacement in Pushing Hands
The Cinema of Ang Lee

Whitney Crothers Dilley

Columbia University Press

This chapter analyzes the movie Pushing Hands (1991). The narrative of Pushing Hands is concerned with cultural diversity arising from issues of Chinese diasporic identity. The film is an intimate study of the cultural tensions of the diaspora that at its essence deals with the confrontation between Chinese and Western culture. Lee is the child of two “mainlanders” who moved from China to Taiwan, displaced by the outcome of the Chinese civil war in 1949. His identity confusion was compounded by his move abroad to the United States in 1978 to pursue higher education. Like Lee's two other films, The Wedding Banquet and Eat Drink Man Woman, Pushing Hands explores the changing role of the Chinese father in a fast-paced, English-speaking world during the late twentieth century. Aside from its focus on Confucian filial piety, the film uses the tai chi concept of “Pushing Hands” as a very effective metaphor.

Keywords:   Pushing Hands, cultural diversity, diaspora, Chinese culture, Western culture, Chinese father, filial piety, tai chi

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