Abstract

Cormac McCarthy’s American neo-noir neo-Western crime thriller No Country for Old Men and An Li 安黎’s black comedy Shijian de miankong 《时间的面孔》 (Time’s Visage) highlight the precipitous arc of decline in modern society through populist fantasies that exclude the Other. An Li’s 天立本 (Tian Liben) is a returning overseas Chinese who invests in a rubber factory to bring prosperity to his hometown. His dream turns into a nightmare when he discovers that pollution from the rubber plant has caused the villagers to die from cancer. Shaun Hu 拴虎, a corrupt official who helped Liben invest in the rubber plant, beats Liben, and the villagers want to avenge their dying family members. As a result, Liben eventually commits suicide. On the other hand, in No Country, Anton Chigurh is a cold-blooded and implacable hit man who incarnates Sheriff Ed Tom Bell’s worst imaginings. Unlike An Li’s Liben who is emasculated at the end of Time’s Visage, Chigurh is an indomitable nonwhite Other incarnating populist fears. Both writers describe a profoundly pessimistic universe in which the Other wreaks havoc.

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