Cinema and Urban Culture in Shanghai, 1922-1943 / Edition 1

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This volume aims both to establish cinema as a vital force in Shanghai culture and to direct attention to early Chinese cinema, a crucial chapter in Chinese cultural history long neglected by Western scholars.

The editor's introduction surveys the history and historiography of Chinese cinema through the 1940s and identifies subjects and sources that await further research. In Part One, "Screening Romance," Zhen Zhang discusses how the influence of teahouse culture gradually yielded to cinematic and narrative concerns in the early 1920s. Kristine Harris's analysis of a costume drama reveals the director's cultural heritage and a rich psychological subtext created by new film techniques. Leo Oufan Lee examines the ways various urban institutions were utilized to promote a certain type of film culture in Shanghai.

In Part Two, "Imaging Sexuality," Andrew Field traces the public perception of cabaret girls in Shanghai, and Michael Chang studies the discursive processes by which three generations of early movie stars were elevated to stardom. Yingjin Zhang contends that prostitution was a focal point in the urban imagination and that its public presentation furnished Chinese filmmakers with a highly contested space for projecting different ideologies.

In Part Three, "Constructing Identity," Zhiwei Xiao examines the role Nationalist film censorship played in promoting a new national culture, and Sue Tuohy locates in film music a wide range of conflicting ideals and models. Shelley Stephenson brings us to Japanese-occupied Shanghai, where a Manchurian-born, Chinese-educated Japanese film star masked her true identity.

Representing the disciplines of film, literature, and ethnomusicology, the contributors seek to redefine concepts of cinema and urban culture in Chinese historiography. The volume will appeal to scholars whose interests lie, not just in film studies and Chinese history, but in the fields of modernity, urban studies, and popular culture.

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Editorial Reviews

Organized into three sections arranged somewhat chronologically, this volume explores issues of cultural history wrapped up in early Chinese cinema. American scholars of Chinese language and culture discuss the ways various urban institutions were used to promote a specific film culture in Shanghai in the 1920s, how cabaret girls were depicted and perceived in film and society at large, the ideological depictions brought out in film representations of prostitution, and the role of Nationalist film censorship in promoting a new national culture in the 1930s. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
From the Publisher
"This landmark volume on early Chinese cinema is testament to the burgeoning of high-quality American-based research on Chinese cinema in general . . . .A substantial contribution to scholarship both on Chinese cinema and Republican China . . . .The achievements of the essays are threefold. They produce new empirical knowledge about areas hitherto neglected. They correct existing misapprehensions. And they open up important debates for further consideration."—Journal of Asian History
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804735728
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 1,272,813
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Note on Romanization
List of Contributors
1 Introduction: Cinema and Urban Culture in Republican Shanghai 3
Pt. 1 Screening Romance: Teahouse, Cinema, Spectator
2 Teahouse, Shadowplay, Bricolage: Laborer's Love and the Question of Early Chinese Cinema 27
3 The Romance of the Western Chamber and the Classical Subject Film in 1920s Shanghai 51
4 The Urban Milieu of Shanghai Cinema, 1930-40: Some Explorations of Film Audience, Film Culture, and Narrative Conventions 74
Pt. 2 Imaging Sexuality: Cabaret Girl, Movie Star, Prostitute
5 Selling Souls in Sin City: Shanghai Singing and Dancing Hostesses in Print, Film, and Politics, 1920-49 99
6 The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful: Movie Actresses and Public Discourse in Shanghai, 1920s-1930s 128
7 Prostitution and Urban Imagination: Negotiating the Public and the Private in Chinese Films of the 1930s 160
Pt. 3 Constructing Identity: Nationalism, Metropolitanism, Pan-Asianism
8 Constructing a New National Culture: Film Censorship and the Issues of Cantonese Dialect, Superstition, and Sex in the Nanjing Decade 183
9 Metropolitan Sounds: Music in Chinese Films of the 1930s 200
10 "Her Traces Are Found Everywhere": Shanghai, Li Xianglan, and the "Greater East Asia Film Sphere" 222
Filmography 249
Notes 257
Select Bibliography 319
Character List 341
Index 357
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