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In cinema, you can still be called "orientalist" if you depict another culture. And eastern filmmakers are "pandering" if they are applauded in the west

By Mark Cousins   July 2006

On hearing that I am to co-curate a British festival of Chinese cinema, a colleague warns against the dangers of orientalism. When I made my series on Iranian cinema for Channel 4 last year, people also questioned whether I was being orientalist. A popular topic for PhD film students these days is how Chinese breakthrough films like Zhang Yimou’s Hero and House of Flying Daggers are “pandering” to the west. In Iran, director Abbas Kiarostami is often accused of the same thing. At the Mexico City film festival this year, local films featuring peasants or agricultural workers were often called…

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