The clichéd 1930–1950 Western cinematic images of Shanghai as a fascinating den of iniquity, and, in contrast, as a beacon of modernity, were merged in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. As a result, a new standard emerged in science ction lms for the representation of future urban conglomerates: the Asianized metropolis. e standard set by this lm, of a dark dystopian city, populated by creatures of all races and genetic codes, will be adopted in most of the representations of future cities in non-Asian cinema. is article traces the representation of Shanghai in Western cinema from its earliest days (1932– Shanghai Express) through Blade Runner (1982) to the present (2013– Her). Shanghai, already in the early 1930s, sported extremely daring examples of modern architecture and, at the same time, in non-Asian cinema, was represented as a city of sin and depravity. is dualistic representation became the standard image of the future Asianized city, where its debauchery was o en complemented by modernity; therefore, it is all the more seedy. Moreover, it is Asianized, the “Yellow Peril” incarnated in a new, much more subtle, much more dangerous way. As such, it is deserving of destruction, like Sodom and Gomorrah.

Shanghaied into the future: the Asianization of the future Metropolis in post-Blade Runner cinema

CERESA, Marco
2017-01-01

Abstract

The clichéd 1930–1950 Western cinematic images of Shanghai as a fascinating den of iniquity, and, in contrast, as a beacon of modernity, were merged in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. As a result, a new standard emerged in science ction lms for the representation of future urban conglomerates: the Asianized metropolis. e standard set by this lm, of a dark dystopian city, populated by creatures of all races and genetic codes, will be adopted in most of the representations of future cities in non-Asian cinema. is article traces the representation of Shanghai in Western cinema from its earliest days (1932– Shanghai Express) through Blade Runner (1982) to the present (2013– Her). Shanghai, already in the early 1930s, sported extremely daring examples of modern architecture and, at the same time, in non-Asian cinema, was represented as a city of sin and depravity. is dualistic representation became the standard image of the future Asianized city, where its debauchery was o en complemented by modernity; therefore, it is all the more seedy. Moreover, it is Asianized, the “Yellow Peril” incarnated in a new, much more subtle, much more dangerous way. As such, it is deserving of destruction, like Sodom and Gomorrah.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3688688
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