Week 5 Post: Research Log

Hi All,

This week we’ll be doing research logs — please share an image or a clip from one of the films you’re thinking of using for your project, and tell us something about what was happening in China or Hong Kong (political shifts, social changes, economic factors, other?) at the time the film was made… What’s the context that’s relevant?

(due midnight Sunday)

6 thoughts on “Week 5 Post: Research Log

  1. “My War” Directed by Oxide Pang is a film that glorifies the Chinese involvement in the Korean War. It was released in 2016 to widespread disapproval and only earned about $5 million overall. The movie is obviously a very recent release so it is not hard to see why China would’ve wanted a big blockbuster hit that promoted feelings of national pride and strength. In 2016, China had been engaged in a battle of wills with it’s Asian neighbors and the U.S. as it tries to establish regional hegemony. The disputed South China Sea and the cluster of islands that inhabit it have been a highly controversial topic lately. In the trailer that I’ve linked bellow, some old but proud Chinese tourists school a young South Korean woman on a bus when she tries to “Welcome them to Seoul.” They claim that they’d been to Seoul before carrying red Chinese flags 60 years before and advise her to see the movie “My War” which tells their story. The fact that the Korean woman speaks fluent Mandarin is another victory for the spread of Chinese influence thought East Asia. That specific trailer was received very poorly causing some people to outright boycott the film due to its insensitivity about the true horrors of the Korean War. The film has also been described by some as shameless propaganda however, even though the film tries to promote Chinese pride, it is absolutely saturated with American style which leads to questions about who the actual hegemon is Chinese strength or American influence?


  2. “The Chinese Connection (aka Fist of Fury) starring Bruce Lee released originally in 1972 has an ending scene that has stuck with me my entire life. I have no revisited the movie in several years, however the movie itself is widely regarded as having the most politically and historically relevant movie of Lee’s career. The film is set during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai, and although China was decades removed from the Japanese occupation, the film served as a reminder of foreign occupation in China and strengthen the Chinese nationalist’s resolve for revolution and be ready to fiercely fight off any new threats, particularly against “foreign imperialists” the British and Americans (If people don’t attack us, we will not attack them, if they attack us, we will surely attack them, 1970). What I hope to understand now, is how much if any of this film was influenced by Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, or if the film served it’s own propagandist purpose.


  3. “Once Upon a Time in China” is one of the movies I chose and this movie is technically Taiwanese. This movie being released only two” years after the riot in Tiananmen Square is filmed in a time of some upset for the Chinese government as there are Waves of public protests, particularly in rural areas. They have also accelerated the process of restructuring and/or closing of state-owned enterprises. In the year the movie is released there is also a white paper released on “Chinas Human Right’s Situation”. On a different note this is where we can see an encroachment of a globalizing influence with China having its first McDonalds arrive in Beijing. The movie itself is in the 1900’s in a period where some of the westernizing influences met with mixed reactions as is shown with Siu-kwan’s, Wong Fei-Hung’s “13th Aunt”, return from America westernized. She later questions whether this westernization in their country is a good thing. Wong Fei-hong is dragged into Battles not only with the local government but also with these foreign influences.
    I found a weird version of the movie on you tube still looking for a better way to watch its entirety: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SyqyA059iE

  4. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0By2Wnr98s_sMTHlrSEhUa0ZpMkk/view?usp=sharing

    “To the Fore” is a Chinese movie released in 2015 directed by Dante Lam. It follows the story of a cyclist and his team as they compete on an international level. The film focuses on team dynamics, money in sports, and follows a love interest story line.

    Since this a pretty recent film, I would like to explore if their are a lot of American cinema elements in this film due to the rise of globalization in the last 20 years (due to technology, media, etc).

    This film begins to look at the dynamics of groups and why the team has to break up and the impact it has on its main characters. I’m hoping that I can make some connections to Communist roots (i.e. better together as a team than apart). This will be important because the main characters represent China on international competitions.

    I’m hoping once I see the film all the way thru that it will reveal some importance of gender roles, group dynamics (and their relationship to Chinese politics with their history of Communism), or how sports influences everyday life in China.

  5. Still Life” was directed by Jia Zhengke in 2007. The movie chronicles the story of two people looking for distant loved ones in the village of Fengjie that has been slated for removal to make way for the construction of the Three Gorges dam. One of the main themes in “Still Life” is the contrast between the market reforms that were continuing during the 2000s and China’s still autocratic government. In this respect, it can almost be viewed as a period piece, as the contrasts of market economics and authoritarian government is one of the defining characteristics of China during the 2000s. In addition to this, “Still Life” also deals with concepts relating to family in China. This is relevant as in the 2000s China was starting to deal with the consequences of the one child policy that had been enacted almost two decades earlier.
    I have also read great things about the cinematography and it’s break from the traditional hard-realist aesthetic used in Chinese cinema; taking on a more surreal presentation of reality, so I’m pretty excited to watch the movie all the way through.


  6. “A Brighter Summer Day” is a Taiwanese film directed by Edward Ye. This movie is set during the Mao era and shows the life of the Taiwanese during this time. The main character in the movie is a middle school student named Xiao Si’r. Though Xiao Si’r is known to be a good student, he fails a test and gets sent to night school where he meets Ming who he falls in love with. Throughout the story, the viewer can see how communism affects the live of Xiao Si’r and his family, from his mother having forgotten her official papers in China because of this rushed move to his father watching what he needs to say because of his past relationship with the communist party.

    (I’m not sure how to post a link to a photo)

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