Ma offers an innovative study of three provocative Chinese
directors: Wong Kar-wai, Hou Hsiao-hsien, and Tsai Ming-liang.
Focusing on the highly stylized and nonlinear configurations of
time in each director's films, she argues that these directors have
brought new global respect for Chinese cinema in amplifying motifs
of loss, nostalgia, haunting, absence and ephemeral poetics. Hou,
Tsai, and Wong all insist on the significance of being out of time,
not merely out of place, as a condition of global modernity. Ma
argues that their films collectively foreground the central place
of contemporary Chinese films in a transnational culture of memory,
characterized by a distinctive melancholy that highlights the
difficulty of binding together past and present into a meaningful
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