Building a New China in Cinema: The Chinese Left-Wing Cinema Movement, 1932-1937

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Overview

Building a New China in Cinema introduces English readers for the first time to one of the most exciting left-wing cinema traditions in the world. This unique book explores the history, ideology, and aesthetics of China's left-wing cinema movement, a quixotic film culture that was as political as commercial, as militant as sensationalist. Originating in the 1930s, it marked the first systematic intellectual involvement in Chinese cinema. In this era of turmoil and idealism, the movement's films were characterized by fantasies of heroism intertwined with the inescapable spell of impotency, thus exposing the contradictions of the filmmakers' underlying ideology as their political and artistic agendas alternately fought against or catered to the taste and viewing habits of a popular audience. Political cinema became a commercially successful industry, resulting in a film culture that has never been replicated. Drawing on detailed archival research, Pang demonstrates that this cinema movement was a product of the era's social, economic, and political discourses. The author offers a close analysis of many rarely seen films, richly illustrated with over eighty stills collected from the Beijing Film Archive. With its original conceptual approach and rich use of primary sources, this book will be of interest not only to scholars and fans of Chinese cinema but to those who study the relationship between cinema and modernity.
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Editorial Reviews

Chinese Literature
[Pang's] informative readings of a variety of progressive films and her analysis of the history surrounding the founding of this movement certainly deserve our attention.
CHOICE
Pang provides invaluable information for both Asian film scholars and those interested in modern Chinese history. Highly recommended.
The China Quarterly - Zhiwei Xiao
This book makes a significant contribution to the growing literature on pre-1949 Chinese film. The book is well-researched and informative.
Journal Of Asian Studies
As the first concentrated study of Shanghai leftist cinema in English, this book is of great interest to scholars and students of Chinese cinema, Republican cultural history, and leftist cinema in general.
Screen - Chris Berry
Pang writes in a careful and nuanced way . . . beneath her modest tone lies originality that significantly redraws our picture of this important film movement.
Yiman Wang
This author should be applauded for solid archival work and for bringing forth this well-researched, illustrated, and documented volume.
Stephanie Hemelryk Donald
A stimulating and engaging book with many valuable historical insights. There is no other book that I have seen that engages in such depth with this period of film-making in China.
Chinese Literature: Essays
[Pang's] informative readings of a variety of progressive films and her analysis of the history surrounding the founding of this movement certainly deserve our attention.
Journal of Asian Studies
As the first concentrated study of Shanghai leftist cinema in English, this book is of great interest to scholars and students of Chinese cinema, Republican cultural history, and leftist cinema in general.
Booknews
Pang (general education, Hong Kong Polytechnic U.), in this revision of her dissertation (from Washington U., St. Louis, Missouri), provides a lengthy analysis of the left-wing film movement in China. The ideologies presented by the films and their directors are the main focus, with attention to the portrayal of women, the filmmakers- collective, and the location and makeup of the films' audience. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Choice
Pang provides invaluable information for both Asian film scholars and those interested in modern Chinese history. Highly recommended.
China Quarterly
This book makes a significant contribution to the growing literature on pre-1949 Chinese film. The book is well-researched and informative.
— Zhiwei Xiao
Screen
Pang writes in a careful and nuanced way . . . beneath her modest tone lies originality that significantly redraws our picture of this important film movement.
— Chris Berry, Goldsmiths, University of London
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742509467
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Laikwan Pang is lecturer at the General Education Centre of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Part 2 The History Chapter 3 The Merging of Histories Chapter 4 The Left-wing Cinema Movement Part 5 The Filmmakers and the Formation of a Collective Subjectivity Chapter 6 The Role of Authorship in the Age of Nationalism Chapter 7 Masculinity and Collectivism: Romancing Politics Chapter 8 Women's Stories On-screen versus Off-screen Part 9 The Spectators and The Film Culture Chapter 10 A Commercial Cinema or a Political Cinema? Chapter 11 A Shanghai Cinema or a Chinese Cinema? Chapter 12 Engaging Realism Part 13 Epilogue Chapter 14 Appendix I: Chinese Left-wing Movies of the 1930s Chapter 15 Appendix II: Popular Chinese Movies, 1932-1937 Chapter 16 Bibliography and Filmography
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