This article explores how gendered Chineseness is represented, circulated, and received in Huangmei musical films for audiences in martial-law Taiwan. Focusing on Love Eterne (1963), the analysis examines how theatrical impersonations in the film provided a “queer” social commentary on aspects of Chinese nationalism that conflicted with the Kuomintang's military masculinities. Love Eterne features dual layers of male impersonations: diegetically, the female character Zhu Yingtai masquerades as a man to attend school with other men; nondiegetically, the actress Ling Po performs the male character Liang Shanbo, Zhu's lover. In addition to the “queer” imagination generated by Ling's cross-dressing performance, the author considers how the feminine tone of Love Eterne allowed the Taiwanese audience to escape from masculine war preparations. Although the Kuomintang promoted Ling as a model patriotic actress, it was her background, similar to many Taiwanese adopted daughters, that attracted the most attention from female audiences. This female empathy and the queer subjectivity arguably disturbed the Kuomintang's political propaganda. Hence, this study adds to the breadth of queerness in studies on the cinematic performance of same-sex subjectivities and invites new understandings of queer performance in Love Eterne as a vehicle that can inspire alternative imaginings of gendered selfhoods and nations.

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