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|Title:||Mail-Order Brides and Methamphetamines: Sinophone Burmeseness in Midi Z’s Burma Trilogy|
|Authors:||Melissa Mei-Lin Chan|
Department of English, NTNU
|Abstract:||Midi Z’s Burma Trilogy—the films Return to Burma (2011), Poor Folk (2012), and Ice Poison (2014)—was covertly shot in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, when much of Myanmar’s cinema was still under state control. Considering the political climate and restrictions in cinematic production, I argue that Midi Z’s films highlight the inextricable connection between cultural and economic precarity of the subjects depicted. Rather than being simply documentary or fiction, Midi Z’s Burma Trilogy occupies an interstitial space that allows for the remaking of identity that considers economic stratification and cultural negotiation. From depicting the lives of a scooter taxi driver, human traffickers, and drug dealers among others, the films emphasize the ways in which marginalized communities can co-opt structures of power and develop their own means of power even under oppressive regimes. Precarity does not simply serve as a limitation and is, instead, a position that is at once marginal but capable of reconfiguring cultural hegemonies. Though their Sinophone Burmese representation, Midi Z’s films critique what it means to be Chinese. Thus, Chineseness is under constant negotiation in the Burma Trilogy through the characters’relationships with their own ethnic identities, overturning the understanding of Chineseness as a shared identity that flattens local inflections and differences and focuses on the confluences of subjective identities and economic exchange.|
|Appears in Collections:||Concentric: Studies in English Literature and Linguistics|
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