Zhang Ziyi as the new face of Chinese Femininity?

Zhang Ziyi in Memoirs of a Geisha (Rob Marshall, 2005) in which all the main female roles are played by mainland Chinese actresses.

Zhang Ziyi in Memoirs of a Geisha (Rob Marshall, 2005) in which all the main female roles are played by mainland Chinese actresses. Flickr cc. Courtesy of chrisjohnbeckett

The Central Academy of Drama (the top Chinese institute for acting) graduate Zhang Ziyi was discovered by the director Zhang Yimou to play the female lead in The Road Home (1999). She was immediately picked up by Ang Lee and appeared in her breakthrough role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and now works regularly in both Hollywood and Chinese productions.

Zhang Ziyi as Omega ambassador in London Bond Street store.

Zhang Ziyi as Omega ambassador in London Bond Street store. Flickr cc. Courtesy of thinkretail

She is also featured in many high profile advertising campaigns forging global and Chinese markets. To what extent is Zhang Ziyi the new face of China and international symbol of Chinese femininity?

Explore these websites:

The Little Red Book site debates the scandal caused by Zhang’s recent nudity in the film The Horsemen (Jonas Åkerlund, US, 2009), in which she plays a serial killer, and asks, ‘Does Zhang Ziyi represent Chinese women?’.

VISA card commercial on YouTube featuring Zhang as stereotypical action woman in a western restaurant with inter-media reference to the teahouse scene in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon:

Another VISA card commercial (with Pierce Brosnan):

 

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