The Road Home: Rebellion, the Market and Masculinity in the Han Han Phenomenon

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Han Han has attracted a significant amount of popular and scholarly attention since he rose to fame in 1999. While the majority of commentators have concentrated on his ambiguous position as rebel-meets-entrepreneur, this article considers the way in which masculinity is performed and constructed in the Han Han phenomenon. It discusses Han Han’s commercial appearances before turning to his debut film The Continent (2014). The article points to the recurring figure of the adventurous mobile man, demonstrating that this celebration of masculinity on the move is the result of global cultural influences, local traditions of manhood, and new market forces. Founded as it is on a conservative understanding of gender and mobility, Han Han’s performance and construction of masculinity cuts into his reputation as a “deviant genius,” demonstrating further ways in which his cultural rebellion is limited. In particular, this article highlights the ways in which his masculinity is constructed at the expense of women and non-hegemonic men.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages8
JournalChina Perspectives
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • masculinity
  • mobility
  • Han Han
  • road movies
  • rebellion
  • celebrity
  • postsocialist cinema


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