Deconstructing Zoe 52" Documentary

Fong, Rosa (2016) Deconstructing Zoe 52" Documentary. [Video]

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Abstract

Research aims: My film project seeks to explore and capture the way that race and gender are performed on screen, and the ways in which the medium and the form of representation can reinforce or challenge stereotypes. Research Question To what extent are ethnicity and gender performative? To what extent is that performance constrained by western stereotypical perceptions of the exotic Oriental? To what extent are those perceptions negative? To what extent can performance allow the performer to take ownership of and manipulate those stereotypes? What implications such goals have on the filmmaking process and the resulting shape of the film? If gender is ‘performed’, ‘manufactured through a sustained set of acts, posited through the gendered stylization of the body’, (Butler, 1999) then can the same also be said of race? Do we act out in ways that consolidate an impression of what it is to be Chinese, for example, which lies at the core of my project? Current postmodern critiques of identity are thus also of interest here, and in relation to performativity, masquerade, mimicry, drag and simulacrum are key terms used in this diverse approach to notions of identity. It is the investigation of these aspects of performance that comprise the research questions for this project.

Item Type: Video
Additional Information: Deconstructing Zoe Made For Video • 52 min Completed July 2015. Featuring Zoe. Director: Rosa Fong OFFICIAL WEBSITE http://deconstructingzoe.com SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITES https://twitter.com/BecomingzoeDoc TRAILER https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9cUBM0OGfU&feature=youtu.be Gender is a masquerade and we all play a role. Logline: Deconstructing Zoe is an exploration of gender, race and sexuality, seen through the life and times of transgender Chinese actor Zoe. “When I’m driving as a man, nobody notices me, everyone goes Chink, but when I’m Zoe people are honking me, winking at me, tailing me and she’s like voom, speeding down the West Way.” What is it that makes Chinese men mostly invisible in the West? Why, by contrast, are Chinese women nearly always seen as desirable?   Zoe has grappled with this question in her work as an actor on stage.  As a Chinese man he often passes unnoticed, but as a Chinese woman, Zoe attracts attention and feels empowered. Deconstructing Zoe is a vivid and intimate portrait of a transgender actor. It is an exploration of gender, race and sexuality, seen through Zoe's eyes. We trace the journey from boyhood in a small town in Malaysia to the West-end stage via the trans scene of London.  Interviews are interwoven with performances from Zoe’s semi-auto biographical play “An Occasional Orchid”.  The performance pieces echo the experience of a transgendered person, who Zoe says often live a twilight existence.  The orchid is also a metaphor for how Asian women are seen to be exotic, beautiful and desirable in the West. Deconstructing Zoe has an important message to us all, that gender is not fixed or binary, but for some is a spectrum and that at any one time we can be gender queer and sexually fluid.   Synopsis Zoe understands the power women have over men.  She says, “I’ve become this exotic Asian woman – a fragile creature, which big Western men want to protect.” Deconstructing Zoe is a documentary portrait of transgender Chinese actor Zoe and is an exploration of gender, race and sexuality.
Uncontrolled Keywords: race, gender, identity, transgender, gender queer, gender fluid, film, documentary, performing race, performing gender
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Divisions: Media
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Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2016 15:01
URI: http://repository.edgehill.ac.uk/id/eprint/7142

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