Celluloid China: Cinematic Encounters with Culture and Society / Edition 2

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Celluloid China: Cinematic Encounters with Culture and Society by Harry H. Kuoshu is a lucid introduc­tion to the cinema of mainland China from the early 1930s to the early 1990s.

Emphasizing both film contexts and film texts, this study invites film scholars and students to a broad cinematic analysis that includes investigations of cultural, cross-cultural, intellectual, social, ethnic, and political issues. Such a holistic evaluation allows for a better understanding of both the genesis of a special kind of film art from the People’s Republic of China and the culture exemplified in those films.

The fifteen films include: Two Stage Sisters; Hibis­cus Town; Farewell My Concubine; Street Angel; Three Women; Human, Woman, Demon; Judou; Girl from Hunan; Sacrificed Youth; Horse Thief; Yellow Earth; Old Well; Red Sorghum; Black Cannon Incident; and Good Morning, Beijing.

Discussions of each film have an introduction, passages from the director’s own notes whenever available, and a scholarly article. Discussion ques­tions are found in an appendix. Within its complete bibliography, the book also features a suggested read­ing list for Chinese film classes.


Celluloid China: Cinematic Encounters with Cul­ture and Society is the first book to provide such an exhaustive study of the art and cultural context of Chinese cinema.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809324569
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 11/19/2002
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Harry H. Kuoshu, aka Haixin Xu, is an assistant pro­fessor of cinema studies and modern languages at Northeastern University, where he teaches Chinese film, culture, and language. He is the author of Light­ness of Being in China: Adaptation and Discursive Figuration in Cinema and Theater.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Overview: The Filmmaking Generations 1
Pt. 1 History in and out of Melodrama: Glory, Guilt, and Fantasy 21
1 Two Stage Sisters (Wutai jiemei, dir. Xie Jin, 1965) 29
Director's Notes: "Two Stage Sisters: The Blossoming of a Revolutionary Aesthetic"
2 Hibiscus Town (Furong zhen, dir. Xie Jin, 1986) 52
Director's Notes: "Society and Subjectivity: On the Political Economy of Chinese Melodrama"
3 Farewell My Concubine (Bawang bie ji, dir. Chen Kaige, 1993) 69
Director's Notes: "The Concubine and the Figure of History: Chen Kaige's Farewell My Concubine"
Pt. 2 Speaking for the Other: Changing Allegorical Roles for Women 87
4 Street Angel (Malu tianshi, dir. Yuan Muzhi, 1937) 93
An Outline for Viewing Street Angel: "The Textual and Critical Difference of Being Radical: Reconstructing Chinese Leftist Films of the 1930s"
5 Three Women a.k.a. Women Side by Side (Liren xing, dir. Chen Liting, 1949) 110
From "Xin nuxing to Liren xing: Changing Conceptions of the 'New Woman' in Republican Era Chinese Films"
6 Woman, Demon, Human a.k.a. Human, Woman, Demon (Ren gui qing, dir. Huang Shuqin, 1988) 129
Director's Notes: "Human, Woman, Demon: A Woman's Predicament"
7 Ju Dou (dir. Zhang Yimou, 1990) 151
Director's Notes: "Ju Dou - A Hermeneutical Reading of Cross-Cultural Cinema"
Pt. 3 Cinema Exotica: Ethnic Minorities as the PRC's "Internal Other" 165
8 Girl from Hunan (Xiangnu Xiaoxiao, dir. Xie Fei, Wu Lan, 1986) 171
Director's Notes: "Hsiao-hsiao' and Girl from Hunan: Teaching Chinese Narrative, Not Just Chinese Fiction"
9 Sacrificed Youth (Qingchun ji, dir. Zhang Nuanxin, 1985) 181
Director's Notes: "Is China the End of Hermeneutics?; or, Political and Cultural Usage of Non-Han Women in Mainland Chinese Films"
10 Horse Thief (Daoma zei, dir. Tian Zhuangzhuang, 1986) 197
Director's Notes: "Tian Zhuangzhuang, the Fifth Generation, and Minorities Film in China"
Pt. 4 The Chinese Western: Roots Hidden in the Yellow Earth 213
11 Yellow Earth (Huang tudi, dir. Chen Kaige, 1984) 219
Director's Notes: "The 'Hidden' Gender in Yellow Earth"
12 Old Well (Lao jing, dir. Wu Tianming, 1987) 233
Director's Notes: From "Digging an Old Well: The Labor of Social Fantasy"
13 Red Sorghum (Hong gaoliang, dir. Zhang Yimou, 1987) 248
Director's Notes: "Red Sorghum: Mixing Memory and Desire"
Pt. 5 New City Films: Beyond-Yellow-Earth Experiences of Postsocialism 277
14 Black Cannon Incident (Heipao shijian, dir. Huang Jianxin, 1985) 283
Director's Notes: From "Post-Socialist Strategies: An Analysis of Yellow Earth and Black Cannon Incident"
15 Good Morning, Beijing (Beijing, nizao, dir. Zhang Nuanxin, 1990) 302
Director's Notes: "In Search of the Real City: Cinematic Representations of Beijing and the Politics of Vision"
App. 1: Discussion Questions 329
App. 2 Pronouncing Romanized Chinese 344
App. 3 Video Purchase and Film Rental Information 347
Bibliography 349
Index 367
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