The East Asian Auteur PhenomenonContext, Discourse and Agency surrounding the Transnational Reputations of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Kim Ki-duk, and Wong Kar-wai

Authors Organisations
Type

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Sarah Thomas
  • Kate Egan
Award date15 Dec 2016
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Abstract

This thesis explores the phenomenon through which numerous directors, from emerging and established film industries from East Asia, have been collectively recognised as auteurs in the West in the last two decades. The thesis proposes a multi-dimensional approach that investigates contexts, discourses, and agencies closely associated with three representative directors that shaped their auteur reputations, as revealed in different forms of archival materials which are treated as auteur paratexts. These paratexts are archival materials associated with the Rotterdam International Film Festival in relation to Apichatpong Weerasethakul, home video promotional materials in relation to Kim Ki-duk, and YouTube user-generated content in relation to Wong Kar-wai. Drawing on and expanding from the method of Foucauldian critical discourse analysis, the findings reveal persistent discourses on geo-politics in relation to national and regional cinema, and an expanded discourse on art cinema in relation to transnational multimedia art forms and diverse taste cultures. Further multi-modal textual analysis of sample materials, which take into account multiple individuals involved, illustrates how directors and associated agents negotiate discursive framings and assert their own pleasure and personal politics through language, voice and performance. Each case study also discusses wider networks of relationship, drawing on and expanding from Pierre Bourdieu’s frameworks, which facilitate or undermine the process of auteur reputation-making associated with the three case study directors. In the context of the film festival, Apichatpong has been promoted as a modernist auteur as part of festival branding. Emerging through the commercial context of film distribution, Kim Ki-duk and associated distributors have drawn on and moved away from Kim’s restricted cult reputation generated by influential distributors over time. The case study of Wong Kar-wai points to the importance of individual users on YouTube, who are not represented by film-related institutions but exhibit shared taste cultures through maintaining and expanding the director’s reputation. As a whole, the thesis offers a multifaceted perspective on the East Asian auteur phenomenon and highlights collective cultures that sustain fascination with the auteur figure.