When facing the political, historical and cultural complexities of Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, problematic issues arise in relation to understanding the sorts of national/cultural identities that might be projected by them. With regard to these three Chinese language cinemas, a traditional national cinema approach focussing predominantly upon nation-state as a source of meaning would provide only a limited understanding of the meanings generated. This article, however, draws on what Benedict Anderson (1991) put forward as the theory of ‘Imagined Communities’ which assumes a large body of people regard themselves as members of a ‘nation’ (and here we interpret this term broadly and beyond understandings of geographical borders and political systems) through a variety of historical legacies, cultural memories and acts of consumption. In this article we hold the assumption that there is a shared cultural meaning (namely ‘Chineseness’) that extends across the three Chinese language cinemas and consider cultural affinity as greater than national and political boundaries.
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