IV.  Boundary and Role Violations

Doubling and Oedipal Relations

In addition to “femme fatale” or “castatrice” roles (often assigned to female action performers of non-Chinese origin), film theory suggests other more subtle devices originating in horror genres.  These may include both the use of “doubling” and overtly enacting Oedipal relations.  Classical Hollywood occasionally employed the fictive device of identical twins (one “good” the other “bad”) to explore women’s roles and behavior.  HK cinema has made use of female characters to resemble deceased lovers (e.g., “Bullets of Love,” 2001).  In the GWG genre, doubling has tended to involve either partners (“buddy” films) or changes in state.  Amnesia has occasionally been invoked.  Oedipal relations in cine-psychoanalysis involve the extent to which the developing female character forms identifications with the parent (or parent-figure) of each gender.  Under the terms of this inherently patriarchal theory, Oedipal relations are adequately resolved for female professionals who are inscribed into traditional authority structures.

Dreaming the Reality and Angel Terminators II
A related pair of films, “Dreaming the Reality” (1991) and “Angel Terminators II” (1993) address both elements.  Both star Moon Lee, Yukari Oshima and Sibelle Hu.  In the first film, Moon Lee’s character oscillates between cold, masculinized indifference (in her role as an assassin) and concern for victims or envy of others’ relationships.  Following a bout of amnesia she becomes a peaceful, harmonious figure and an object of attraction for Ben Lam’s character.  Both films prominently deal with relationships with a father figure.  In “Dreaming The Reality” Moon Lee ends up rejecting the romantic advances of Ben Lam’s character as well as definitively repudiating and rejecting her foster father (Eddie Ko) as well as her own Final Girl persona.  In “Angel Terminators II” the principal focus is on Yukari Oshima.  Her character is over-identified with her deceased mother, and rejects her father.  In both films Sibelle Hu appears to function as a potential maternal surrogate.
Yukari Oshima and Moon Lee in Angel Terminators II and Dreaming the Reality
Yukari Oshima’s role in both films can be considered quite oppositional.  Her character’s rejection of conventions, aggressiveness and close bond to only one or two female companions prevent her from being re-inscribed into the patriarchal order.  Her character can only be destroyed.  She conspicuously possesses the gaze and is an arguably masculine figure in the form of her actions and relationships.  Furthermore, her self-sacrifice in both films parallels that of the males.  Oshima’s marginal figure is strongly aligned with death – even though her co-stars’ characters actually have many more victims.  However, the ambiguity and excitement of her role is preserved to the very last since her demise follows directly from inner motives and is not externally imposed.  Indeed, it could be read as an almost unique filmic female expression of the self-sacrifice associated with Japanese budo – the “way of the warrior.”