Colour and utopia: The filmic portrayal of harvest in late Cultural Revolution narrative films
Author: Pang, Laikwan
Source: Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Volume 6, Number 3, 26 November 2012 , pp. 263-282(20)
Abstract:This article investigates the narrative films produced in China between 1973 and 1976 in order to analyse the contestations between the films' utopian impulses and the institutionalization of these impulses. Jameson reminds us that in order to better understand utopian thinking, we should consider shifting our focus from content to representation. As utopian texts, these films are also more interesting in their form than in their messages. This article focuses specifically on the ways colour is used, which exemplify the dynamics between liberation and suppression, and most readily betray the multivalent and mutually conflicting aesthetic and political drives of the period. This article offers close textual analyses of three narrative films, Green Pine Ridge (Liu Guoquan, 1973), Bright Sunny Skies (Lin Nong, 1974) and Fighting the Flood (Su Li and Yuan Naichen, 1974), which all portray class struggles in the villages around the harvest. Examining how colour is used to portray these harvests, and elucidating the underlying conflicting ideologies, this article also demonstrates tensions between the countryside and the cities, with the purpose of exploring exactly where the Cultural Revolution's utopia resides.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2012-11-26
- Journal of Chinese Cinemas is a major refereed academic publication devoted to the study of Chinese film, drawing on the recent world-wide growth of interest in Chinese cinemas. An incredibly diverse range of films has emerged from all parts of the Chinese-speaking world over the last few years, with an ever increasing number of border-crossing collaborative efforts prominent among them. These exciting developments provide abundant ground for academic research.
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