On the Fantastic in the Chinese Film "Legend of the Demon Cat"

Aàdronika Martonova


The study traces several different narratives – historical and fictional – related to the tragic affair between the Chinese concubine Yang Guifei and the Tang emperor Li Longji – a storyline which has been repeatedly interpreted in both the Chinese and the Japanese cultural environment. Chen Kaige’s The Legend of the Demon Cat interprets and re-reads the famous plot in a way which is completely different from the one in previous screen productions. The film is an adaptation of the contemporary novel Samana Kukai written by the Japanese writer Yoneyama Mineo. The director Chen, an emblematic figure of the Fifth Generation of Chinese cinema, constructs the fantastic, relying on the genre traditions in Chinese literature and Screen arts. The paper makes a first analytic attempt at The Legend of the Demon Cat, placing the research subject in the broad framework of Film and Culture Studies.


cinema, China, fantastic, Tang dynasty, non-traditionalism.


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