Intermediality and film consciousness in Gao Xingjian’s 'La Silhouette sinon l’ombre'

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

178 Downloads (Pure)


This article employs Merleau-Pontian phenomenology to deconstruct the mind-body unity in Gao Xingjian’s film, 'La Silhouette sinon l’ombre' (2003), which shows the protagonist’s sensory and bodily encounters with the physical world through a stream-of-consciousness technique. Applying this philosophy allows us to make sense of the apparently unconnected, disparate scenes and understand the relationship between inner and outer worlds by considering the role of subjective positionality. It explains how Gao brings the body to the screen as both perceiving object and subject of perception through an emphasis on sight and touch, and interprets the creative act as the synthesis of activity and interaction. 'La Silhouette' is an important contribution to contemporary francophone films exploring the relationship between artist, viewer and artwork due, firstly, to Gao’s tripartite aesthetics, dependent on the full integration of the senses, and secondly to the unique expression of the artist’s world via the intramedial, suggesting the coexistence of several consciousnesses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-74
JournalForum for Modern Language Studies
Issue number1
Early online date10 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Although I received an email from the journal's editor stating that my revisions have been accepted, no official date of acceptance has yet been provided since my article is currently in the 'first look' queue. When final edits have been made, the link to the licencing agreement is sent to authors and at that point an official date of acceptance is provided.


  • Gao Xingjian, francophone Chinese, film, phenomenology, consciousness, Merleau-Ponty, intramediality


Dive into the research topics of 'Intermediality and film consciousness in Gao Xingjian’s 'La Silhouette sinon l’ombre''. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this