Filming the anti-Japanese war: the devils and buffoons of Jiang Wen’s Guizi Laile
Abstract:This article outlines the chequered history of Jiang Wen’s Guizi laile/Devils on the Doorstep (2000), including discussion of his adaptation of You Fengwei’s story ‘Shengcun’ (‘Getting By’), and the adverse reaction in China following the film’s winning of the Cannes Grand Jury Prize in 2000. The article argues that Jiang, far from intending to portray the Chinese people as foolish collaborators, as charged by the Chinese Film Bureau, instead made a film that set out to show the absurdity and arbitrary cruelty of war. Discussion on films made in China about the anti-Japanese war in the 1980s, as well as Yangguang canlan de rizi/In the Heat of the Sun (1994), Jiang’s only other film as director, reveals how Jiang sought to move away from the simplistic conventions of Socialist Realist film-making, adopting a more challenging approach to a subject that remains all too sensitive in China.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Edinburgh
Publication date: September 1, 2004
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