IV. Boundary and Role
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.
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’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.”