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March 22, 2016 | Author: | Posted in art, movies

Loyalty and Betrayal in a Political Context

Loyalty and Betrayal in a Political Context

Two recent Chinese films , Chen Kaige ‘s Farewell My Concubine (1993 ) and Zhang Yimon ‘s Hero (2002 , have gained worldwide attention garnering numerous awards in the process . Although set in very different periods of Chinese history , both films deal with the themes of loyalty and betrayal played out against a vigorously political backdrop . This political philosophy even weaves through out the stories , marking a radical change from previous socialist-realistic Chinese films which mainly had an operatic focus p [banner_entry_middle]

In the past , Chinese films were heavily censored and did not appeal to a wide audience . What occurred within the Chinese culture to allow for films which gained international acclaim and dealt freely with controversial concepts , such as the political atmosphere of China

Both Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimon are Chinese fifth generation directors . This genre evolved after Mao ‘s death in 1976 , causing film to have the widest international impact of all the Chinese arts reborn since then . Distinguished by a quantum leap from the political and cultural heritage of Mao , and achieving an aesthetic breakthrough ‘ with radically politicized ideological implications this movement nevertheless was formed in a crucible (Zhang , 203

The 1984 release of Kaige ‘s film Yellow Earth revealed the emergence of a major new movement in world cinema , the fifth generation which gained its name from critics and scholars based upon a retrospective examination of Chinese film history . It is one of the cinema ‘s most important new waves ‘ along with German expressionism , the French new wave , and Italian neo realism . The canon is comprised of the works of a group of young film artists with similar aesthetic and ideological motivations . The fifth generation emerged from the first graduating class of the Beijing Film Academy students who had encountered tumultuous changes within their own lives , not being allowed to finish their high school educations ( which didn ‘t resume until 1977 , but being sent instead to the countryside as intellectual youth ‘ becoming soldiers or laborers . Although Kaige ‘s father was a well known Beijing film director , Yimou ‘s father had been an officer in Chiang Kai-Shek ‘s nationalist KMT army and Yimou was shut out of most educational , financial and social opportunities available to many of his future classmates at the Film Academy . However , the arrival of the Cultural Revolution functioned as a great equalizer , as most members of the fifth generation forfeited education , saw their parents publicly criticized , and their lives swept up in turmoil . Yimou took up photography during this time , while Kaige tried to join the communist party (Ij , 1

According to Paul Clark in his book Reinventing China : A Generation and its Film

the cultural revolution forever changed the members of the fifth generation . They emerged from it challenged by their experiences endowing their films with a more critical attitude toward the cultural revolution and a more humane and realistic take on the lives of their fellow Chinese

While at the Beijing… [banner_entry_footer]

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