The Proximity of Other Skins: Ethical Intimacy in Global Cinema

ISBN : 9780190865856

Celine Parrenas Shimizu
256 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Feb 2020
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Transnational films that represent intimacy and inequality produce new experiences that result in the displacement of the universal spectator, in a redefinition of the power of cinema for today's global audiences. The Proximity of Other Skins examines transnational films that achieve global prominence in presenting a different cinematic language of love and sex. Author Celine Parrenas Shimizu traverses independent films by Gina Kim and Ramona Diaz to the global cinema of Laurent Cantet, Park Chan-wook and Cannes award-winning director Brilliante Mendoza and their representations of transnational intimacies. In doing so, she addresses unexpected encounters in the global movement of people and goods within their geopolitical, historical, and cultural contexts. In these celebrated films that move across continents, she finds ways to expand our definition of intimacy, including explicit sex and relations that go beyond sex, enabling us the opportunity to theorize how people now live together in many spheres of contemporary life. Readers can then better understand how intimacy can affirm and express love, but also alienate and oppress, revealing the loneliness, pain, and suffering within transnational, national, and personal relations of power and hierarchy. In studying representations of intimacy, the book calls to expand our vocabulary of moving images and its role in redefining care work and affective relations between people across difference and inequality. The book addresses cinematic intimacies between husbands/wives/lovers, understanding between sex workers and clients, close familiarity between rich and poor, and new affinities between citizen and refugee and laborer and capitalist.


1. Introduction: Subject/ Abject Relations in Those Long Haired Nights (2017) and Call Her Ganda (2018)

2. (Rich) White Women, (Poor) Brown Men, and Sexual Settings: Political and Libidinal Economies in Heading South (2005) and Never Forever (2007)

3. The Compassion of Shared Spectatorship: Annihilation and Affliction in Brillante Mendoza's Tirador (2007), Serbis (2007) and Ma'Rosa (2016)

4. Intimate Eruptions and the Embodied Montage: Performing Roles and Breaking Rules between Masters and Servants in The Housemaid (2011) and Handmaiden (2016)

5. The Ethics of Representing Oneself and Others: Ramona Diaz's Imelda (2005) and David Byrne's Here Lies Love (2010-17)

6. Epilogue: Memory and Death (2013-Present)

7. References

About the author: 

Professor Celine Parrenas Shimizu is Director of the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University. She is the author of The Hypersexuality of Race (2007), Straitjacket Sexualities (2012) and co-editor of The Feminist Porn Book (2013) and The Unwatchability of Whiteness, a special issue of Asian Diasporas and Visual Cultures of the Americas (2018). Her films include The Celine Archive (2019), The Fact of Asian Women (2004) and Birthright: Mothering Across Difference (2009). She has written numerous peer-reviewed articles in the top journals in the fields of cinema, performance, ethnic, feminist, sexuality studies and transnational popular culture in Asia and Asian America including Cinema Journal, Concentric, Film Quarterly, Frontiers, Journal of Asian American Studies, positions, Sexualities, Signs, Theater Journal, and Yale Journal of Law and Feminism.

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