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TitleShanghai in Contemporary Chinese Film
AuthorLiu, Xiangyang
UniversityU.C. San Diego
Thesis typePh.D
DisciplineComparative literature
Number of pages91
AbstractThis thesis is intended to investigate a series of films produced since the 1990s.
All of these films deal with the theme of Shanghai, old or new, yet, under different
circumstances, they are of disparate styles and perspectives and represent various
ideological and cultural characteristics of each period. In Chapter One, I will discuss
Zhang Yimou’s Shanghai Triad, Chen Kaige’s Temptress Moon and two films by Lou Ye,
Suzhou River and Purple Butterfly, from which we can see the differences between two
generations of Chinese filmmakers. While the Fifth Generation tend to imagine and
investigate in the framework of Chinese history, the younger generation avoids the grand
narrative and chooses to focus more on the life of individuals and their inner world.
Chapter Two will take three Hong Kong films as examples, one by Ann Hui and the other
two by Stanley Kwan. From these three films, we can see a special relationship between
Shanghai and Hong Kong and the circulation of urban culture in modern Chinese history.
Chapter Three will examine some newer films, respectively by younger directors Zhang
Yibai and Lee Xin and by three world-renowned directors Ang Lee, Ann Hui, and Stanley
Kwan. Some of these films pay attention to contemporary urban life, but some still dwell
on the past to make further explorations. The diversity of these films apparently reflects
the chaotic and noisy era we are living in, and through them we can hear the different
voices of anxiety, bewilderment, optimism, sentimentalism or nostalgia.
Keywords (en)China;film;cinema;Shanghai;culture;city;urban;generation;Shanghai Triad;Zhang Yimou;Chen Kaige;Temptress Moon;Lou Ye;Suzhou River;Purple Butterfly
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