One proposal and one 4-pages film review

  

One 4 pages long film review and one proposal of this project. The details are all in the attachment.The sources you use of the review are limited and attached (the PDFs). You can only choose the topic film from the film list in the attachment. I strongly recommend choosing Raise the Red Lantern, To Live or Kung Fu Hustle.
abstract_assignment.doc

film_review_assignment.doc

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1.laborers_love.pdf

2.mise_en_scene.pdf

3.nora.pdf

film_review_assignment.doc

2.mise_en_scene.pdf

3.nora.pdf

4.miss_sophia_s_diary.pdf

5.zhang_yimou.pdf

6.brighter_summer_day.pdf

7.kung_fu_hustle.pdf

4.miss_sophia_s_diary.pdf

3.nora.pdf

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“China” in Film: Final Project Abstract
Your final project in this class will be on a self-selected topic related to Chinese film that
you find interesting. To help get you started, this assignment asks that you write a 150
word abstract about your proposed final project. Within the limited word count, explain
your topic’s significance, the methodology you will use, and your preliminary thesis.
Also, at the end of your abstract, state the number of words you use.
An abstract serves as a concise summary of a larger work. Two of our assigned readings
begin with abstracts. Looking over these two examples might give you a better idea of
how to compose your abstract:
Jean-Yves Heurtebise, “About the Conditions of Possibility of the Philosophical Analysis
of Films: A Kierkegaardian, Girardian, and Deleuzian Reading of ‘In the Mood
for Love’”
Marc J. Blecher, “Hegemony and Workers’ Politics in China”
Also, but not included in the word count, list your project’s title and provide a list of 4-5
sources that you will engage. At least two of your sources should be from outside of our
assigned class readings or films. Additional sources do not need to be in English.
Treat this assignment more as a proposal than as a reflection of a completed work. As
you begin to research your topic, your thesis, sources, and methodology might change.
Do not pick a significantly different topic, though, without first clearing it with me.
Film review exercise
Write a four-page critical review of a film we cover in class. DO NOT simply retell the
story of the film, but instead explain on how the content (plot, main characters, etc) and
the presentation (cinematic style, narrative approach, etc) both relate to the film’s overall
meaning / theme. Next, situate the film and its director within the wider historical /
artistic movements of which they were a part. What does this film reveal to us about the
era in which it was made? Was the film relevant for its time? How about now?
Your review should be clearly organized. It needs: 1) an introduction, where you briefly
introduce the work and lay out your argument (thesis); 2) a body, where you provide
relevant background material and expand your argument; and 3) a conclusion, where you
restate your thesis and provide a final assessment of the work. You should also give your
review an appropriate title that reflects your argument.
You are limited to using sources assigned for this class, class lectures and discussions.
Therefore, you may use an abbreviated reference form—that is, after the citation or
quotation, put the source and page number in parentheses. For example, if you cite a
passage from page 3 of Sheldon Lu, add (Sheldon Lu, 3) at the end of the citation or as a
footnote. There is no need to attach a bibliography.
Format: Four pages, double-spaced, in Times New Roman 12 pt. font. Submit as a hardcopy in class.
Good luck!
The list of films that are available: (you must choose one film in this list)
FILM: Goddess (Shennü,dir. Wu Yonggang, 1934)

Raise the Red Lantern (Da hong denglong gaogao gua, dir.Zhang Yimou,
1991)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BVKEaXhWak
FILM: Yellow Earth (Huang tudi, dir. Chen Kaige,1984)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfHx92LFaN0 (PartI)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33gsmHzgZEc (PartII)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaV9S7lnYOs (Part III)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR0oKuI-nEU (Part IV)
To Live (Huozhe, dir. Zhang Yimou,1994)

FILM: Green Snake (Qingshe, dir. Tsui Hark,1993)

Kung Fu Hustle (Gong fu, dir.Stephen Chow, 2004)
https://putlocker123.org/movies/328452-kung-fu-hustle
(need to copy to your browser; direct link does not work)

Chapter Two
tJ
88
s had their
film culture on a national scale. While big Shanghai studio
built their
ssmen
busine
e
cinephil
local
sales offices in major cities, many
roduction
p
even
imes
somet
and
rks,
own theaters, distribution netwo
ous that
agi
t
con
so
was
film
for
craze
companies. By the mid- l 920s, the
zhou,
Guang
,
Tianjin
,
Beijing
in
ed
small film companies also appear
2
10
lives.
brief
nly
o
had
them
of
st
o
m
Shantou, and Hangzhou, although
made in
While most productions from Shanghai studios are about and
c onnec­
untry
o
city-c
the
with
dealt
o
Shanghai, a significant number als
tside of
ou
sites
in
n
o
locati
n
o
shot
tions and contrasts and were even
Film
detail.
vivid
in
shows
Stars
Two
Shanghai, as the self-referential
ocal
l
on
s
report
carried
ly
nstant
o
c
also
magazines published in Shanghai
hthroug
films
duced
hai-pro
Shang
of
on
film enterprises and the recepti
out China.
viewThe Jilin reader’s letter to Yingxi shenghuo (Movie Llfe) ab out his
­
double
this
ts
cumen
o
d
ction
introdu
the
in
ing of Amorous History quoted
and
film
th
o
b
ugh
o
thr
ed
mediat
ion
t
edged center-periphery interac
metropo­
print. The dissemination of moving images from and about the
maga­
film
eight
lightw
by
aided
was
r
lis to the less-modernized interio
The
days.
those
in
movies
the
han
t
r
zines that traveled faster and cheape
urban­
petty
e
becam
thus
China
of
areas
provincial spectators in remote
industry
ites at large and took part iri the construction of a domestic film
hai.
Shang
t
ou
ab
simply
never
was
and a cosmopolitan film culture that
CHAPTER THREE
TEAHOUSE, SHADOWPLAY,
AND LABORER’S LOVE
MOVIE GOING EMERGED as an important part of modern every­
day life, and also quickly became imbricated in a larger film culture that
remapped urban geography, both physically and discursively. In this
chapter, I trace how a film experience embedded in a haptic teahouse
space gradually gave way to an interio rized experience with the spread of
the exclusive movie theater in the first half of the 1920s. At first film was
seen as a form of play (youxi) and part of variety shows offered to a mixed
and participatory audience at teahouses. This transformation c oincided
with the founding and consolidation of Mingxing in 1922, the first full­
fledged Chinese film enterprise. It also overlapped with the emergence of
a broad film world (yingxi shijie, or yingjie) consisting of a great number of
studios of varying size, distribution agencies, movie theaters, film schools,
film publications, and other related institutions.
This multifaceted film culture paralleled, intersected, and diverged
considerably from the May Fourth cultural movement. Early Chinese
filmmakers, exhibitors, and especially critics, who aspired to use the cin­
ema as a means of vernacular education by way of entertainment, em­
braced a modern mass medium. The intellectuals, however, despised and
dismissed it as the “vulgar” dregs of the petty urbanites. Even Lu.Xun, the
revered writer, joined the crusade a_gainst p opular Chinese cinema.I The
May Fourth writers busily engaged themselves with the print medium to
“rewrite Chinese” from the classical language to a modern vernacular
1 89
Chapter Three
J
90
I
and to promote a loftier literary and ideological episteme for the more
educated.2 The nascent film industry on the other hand sought a more
heterogeneous audience among the teahouse and theater visitors, as well
as students and other new urban subjects. The early filmmakers and
exhibitors-many with experience in the theater-aspired to use the
movie theater as a pedagogical space for transmitting modern knowledge
and values to the public at large. However, market pressure and chang­
ing tastes of the audience constantly placed demands on the production
sector, complicating its effort to create a cinema of l�usiness plus conscienceff (yingyejia liangxin), a slogan coined by Zheng Zhengqiu, Mingx­
ing Company’s cofounder, and widely considered the Hfather” of Chinese
cinema. In the process, the filmmakers were compelled to reconcile the
tension between enlightenment and entertainment by seeking a film lan­
guage for storytelling largely centered on family melodrama. Meanwhile,
the filmmakers and critics also set out to aeline the ontological as well as
cultural implications of the Occidental shadowplay, an effort that in effect
constituted an incipient film theory and film criticism in China. Instead
of the antitraditional radicalism and iconoclasm advocated by the May
Fourth ideology, the popular storytelling cinema, and the porous ver­
nacular culture that surrounded it, then tried to create a more malleable
and �-public sphere. The latter allowed not only the negoti�tion
of conflicting values and ideas but also the processing of fractured expe­
riences of modernity, not to mention projections of the good life for both
the society and the individual. The tension between entertainment and
enlightenment was to persist during the silent and early sound period
and certainly continued as a leitmotif in the Chinese film history as a
whole.
LABORER’S LOVE IN CONTEXT
Laborer’s Love (Laogong zhi aiqing, a.k.a, Zhiguo yuan, 1922) is allegedly the
earliest complete extant Chinese film. A silent film with bilingual inter­
titles (Chinese and English), this thirty-minute short comedy is one of
more than a hundred films made by two pioneers of Chinese cinema: di­
rector Zhang Shichuan and screenwriter Zheng Zhengqiu. 3 The film is a
plebeian story about how a carpenter-turned-fruit vendor wins the hand
of an old doctor’s daughter, and was among the few short comedies made
by Mingxing in 1922. These shorts reportedly failed to become box office
hits, which subsequently impelled the company to manufacture more
Hlong films and serious dramas” (changpian zhengju) in order to make up
financial loss.4 It is surprising that such a noncanonical work, deemed
“frivolous or vulgar,” 5 should have survived the ravages of history to
Teahouse, Shadowplay, and Laborer’s Love
stand now as the “beginning” of Chinese cinema. It has toured around
the world as the •earliest extant Chinese narrative film.” 6 To what extent
can this accidental residue or leftover from Chinese film history help crit­
ics today reimagine the cultural Hchronotope” of early Chinese cinema? 7
And how can we situate the genesis of this particular cinema -or at least
this particular film-in the field of early cinema as a cultural as well as
critical category? I do not intend to use Laborer’s Love here as an all-pur­
pose text to answer these large historical and theoretical questions,
which are inevitably interrelated; the film serves rather as an intersection
where a number of contextual meanings traffic through and collide. This
singular film acts upon film history even though it was long relegated to
oblivion. Precisely because the film was not seen as exceptional in main­
stream Chinese film history, its vivid details and rich cultural context
may actually offer us a compelling glimpse of early Shanghai cinema and
its complexity.
Laborer’s Love is a romantic comedy that provides an explicit caricature
of traditional arranged marriage. The film thus suggests that early Chi­
nese cinema was not entirely divorced from the May Fourth cultural
movement for which free love was a central theme in its narrative of
emancipating the individual from the shackles of feudalism. For the first
·time the film created a screen image of a #laborer” (laogong was a mod­
ern term for the emerging urban working class) in Chinese film history. s
This film was in fact a prelude to a profusion of films released in the first
half of the 1920s, mostly derived from the popular Mandarin Ducks and
Butterfly urban fiction that centered on questions of love, family, and
ethics in a rapidly modernizing society. Overlapping some May Fourth
ideas on similar issues, this early narrative cinema, with its melodramatic
excess and sensational appeal, searched for an effective and affective
mode of storytelling to account for the impact of urban modernity.
Until recently, many film scholars of the West with an eye on .non­
Western cinemas had been particularly enamored with Japanese cin­
ema. A central concern fueling this passion seems to be the possibility
that a non-Western cinema, in this case, the Japanese one, could offer a
counter-Hollywood or alternative cinematic discourse. Noel Burch’s To
the Distant Observer is typical of how Japan became the vehicle for this aca­
demic radicalism. Burch aims to identify prewar Japanese cinema as the
“only national cinema to derive fundamentally from a non-European
culture/’ hence distinctly and radically differing from the •standard
‘Hollywood style’ of shooting and editing adopted by the industries of
Europe and the U.S., as well as by colonized nations.” 9 In other words,
Japan simply became a convenient metaphor in a political project chal­
lenging the hegemony of Hollywood cinema. The second related reason,
1 91
, ,/
What Happens after Nora Walks Out
What Happens after Nora Walks Out
A talk given to Literature and Arts Society at Beijing Women’s Normal College,
December 26, 1923
Translated by Bonnie S. McDougall
My talk today is on the subject “What Happens after Nora Walks Out.” Henrik
Ibsen was a Norwegian writer in the second half of the nineteenth century. Apart
from a few dozen poems, his work was mostly in drama. At one period in his life
he wrote plays that were mainly on social problems, known to the world at large
as “social drama,” and among them was the play known in China
as Nuola (Nora).
The play’s title in German is Ein Puppenheim (A Puppet’s Home). However, the
word Puppe refers not only to a puppet or marionette but also to a doll that
children play with; more broadly, it also refers to people whose actions are
controlled by others. At the outset, Nora is living contentedly in a supposedly
happy household, but eventually she is awakened: she is her husband’s puppet,
and her children are her puppets. So she walks out, and the play ends with the
sound of the front door slamming shut.
What would have prevented Nora from leaving? Ibsen may have supplied the
answer himself in Die Frau vom Meer (The Lady From the Sea), translated into
Chinese as Hai Shang Furen(The Lady At Sea). The heroine is married, and her
former lover lives across the sea, but one day he seeks her out to ask her to
elope with him. She tells her husband that she wants to meet her visitor. Her
husband finally says, “I give you complete freedom. You can decide for yourself
(whether to leave or not) and take sole responsibility for your decision.” This
changes the whole situation, and she doesn’t leave. Judging from this, if Nora
had been given this kind of freedom, she might have stayed too.
However, Nora ends up walking out. What happens to her afterward? Ibsen gave
no answer, and now he’s dead. Even if he weren’t dead, it wouldn’t be his
responsibility to answer the question. For Ibsen was writing poetry, not raising a
problem for society and providing an answer to it. It’s like the golden oriole, which
sings for itself and not for the amusement or benefit of human beings. Ibsen was
a rather unworldly type of person. It’s said that when he was invited to a banquet
in his honor by a group of women, and their representative rose and thanked him
for having written A Doll’s House and giving people new insight into women’s
consciousness and emancipation, he replied, “That was not what I had in mind
when I wrote the play. I was just writing poetry.”
What happens after Nora walks out? A few people have given their opinions on
this. An English playwright wrote a version in which a modern woman leaves
home, but as she has nowhere to go, she becomes degraded and enters a
brothel. There’s also a Chinese man—what shall I call him? Let’s just say a
Shanghai writer—who claims to have seen a version, which differs from the
Chinese translation, in which Nora eventually returns home. Unfortunately, this
version hasn’t been seen by anyone else, unless Ibsen himself sent it to him.
Logically, however, Nora really has only two options: to fall into degradation or to
return home. A bird in a cage lacks any kind of freedom, no doubt, but should it
leave its cage, dangers lurk outside: hawks, cats, and so on; and if it has been
shut up for so long that its wings have atrophied or it has forgotten how to fly,
then truly it has no way out. There is another possibility—that is, to starve to
death—but since starving means departing from life, it’s no solution to the
problem and so is not a way out either.
The most painful thing in life is to wake from a dream and find there is no way
out. People who dream are fortunate. If there isn’t a way out in sight, it is
important not to wake them. Take the Tang poet Li He, who died at the age of
twenty-six after being poor and wretched the whole of his life. As he lay near
death, he said to his mother, “The Emperor of Heaven has built a white jade
palace, Mother, and summoned me to write a poem on its completion.”
Wasn’t this surely a falsehood, a dream? But for the young man who was dying
and the elderly woman who survived him, it allowed a dying man to go happily to
his death, while his survivor was able to live in peace. Falsehoods and dreams at
such times may be magnificent. It therefore seems to me that dreams are what
we need if we cannot find a way out.
Nevertheless, it’s not a good idea to dream about the future. The Russian
novelist Mikhail Artsybashev made use of one of his novels to challenge idealists
who dream of a future golden age, since they call up misery for the many in order
to build that world. “You promise their sons and grandsons a golden age,” he
said, “but what do you have to give them?” There is, of course, something to be
given: it is hope for the future. The cost is too great, however: for the sake of this
hope, people are made more sensitive to the depths of their own suffering, while
their souls are summoned to witness their own rotting corpses. These times
appear to be splendid only in falsehoods and dreaming. To me, therefore,
dreams are what we need if we can’t find a way out, but not dreams of the future,
just dreams of the present.
And yet once Nora had awakened, it was not easy for her to return to dreamland,
so her only recourse was to leave; but after she’d left, she soon faced the
inevitable choice between degradation and returning home. Otherwise, we are
obliged to ask, what did Nora take with her apart from her awakened mind? If she
had nothing but a crimson woolen shawl like you young ladies, it would be
completely useless, whether it was two feet wide or three feet wide. She would
still need something more substantial that could go in her purse; to be blunt, she
would need money.
Dreams are fine, but otherwise money is essential.
The word money sounds ugly, or even ridiculous to superior folk, but generally
it’s my belief that people’s opinions vary, not just from one day to another but
even before and after they’ve had a meal. People who readily admit that a meal
costs money and yet still maintain that money is dirty would, I’m afraid, if you
could check their stomachs, probably still have some undigested scraps of fish or
pork inside them—but just let them fast for a day and then see what they have to
say.
So for Nora, money (or to put it more elegantly, economic means) is crucial. It is
true that freedom cannot be bought, but it can be sold. Human beings have one
major defect: they are apt to get hungry. To compensate for this defect and avoid
acting like puppets, economic rights seem to be the most important factor in
present-day society. First, there must be a fair division of property between men
and women in the family; second, there must be an equal division of power
between men and women in society at large. Unfortunately, I have no idea how
to obtain these rights, other than that we will have to …
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