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Retractions and Corrigenda

Vol. 9 No. 2 (2023): Here Be Dragons. East Asian Film and Religion

(Retracted) The Representation of Rural Christianity in the Films of Gan Xiao'er

August 19, 2023


On January 29th, 2024, this article was retracted at request of the author.

The religious dimension of Chinese cinema is, it has been observed, a “triple lacuna” in contemporary scholarship: in research on religion in China, in research on Chinese cinema, and in interdisciplinary research on film and religion. From 2002 to 2012, independent filmmaker Gan Xiao’er directed three low-budget features that portrayed rural Christianity in China, a subject almost entirely absent from both Chinese mainstream media and independent films. In this article, I analyze Gan’s films by locating them in their social, political, and religious contexts, by comparing them with other Chinese films, and by linking them to the tradition of Western films that portray spirituality. I observe a progression in themes and style from Gan’s first feature, 山清水秀 (THE ONLY SONS, CN 2002), to his third, 在期待之中 (WAITING FOR GOD, CN 2012). I seek to show that Gan developed a restrained directorial style in order to connect with the spirituality of Chinese peasants. Although he had to grope in the dark on many aspects, his engagement with Christian themes has greatly expanded the narrative space of Chinese cinema.