DescriptionComparative Literature 100
Special Topic: Chinese Cinema
Write a paper on the following topic
Minimum length: 5 full pages. Double space. Font size: 12. One-inch margin on all four
Goddess (Dir. Wu Yonggang, 1934)
Street Angels (Dir. Yuan Muzhi, 1937)
Two Stage Sisters (Dir. Xie Jin, 1964)
Farwell My Concubine (Dir. Chen Kaige, 1993)
Youth (Dir. Feng Xiaogang, 2017)
Portions of other films have also been shown and discussed during lectures in the first
half of the course, such as The Great Road (Sun Yu, 1934), New Women (Cai Chusheng,
1935), The Spring River Flows East (Zheng Junli & Cai Chusheng, 1947), The WhiteHaired Girl (Wang Bin & Shui Hua, 1950), The Red Detachment of Women (Xie Jin,
1961), Yellow Earth (Chen Kaige, 1984), Raise the Red Lantern (Zhang Yimou, 1992),
Blue Kite (Tian Zhuangzhuang, 1993),
Three Times: Republican China, Socialist China, and Post-Mao China
The films that we have watched and studied in the class cover three distinct historical
periods and three important moments of filmmaking in modern Chinese history. They
are the golden age of early cinema based in Shanghai in the Republic of China (19121949); socialist revolutionary cinema from the People’s Republic of China in the
mainland (1949-76); and cinema in post-Mao China, namely, in the era of social and
economic reforms since 1976. Choose at least a total of three films from these periods
in the above list, discuss and compare the representation of Chinese society, culture,
or history in these films. Please also briefly comment on prominent stylistic features
that you notice in the films. The paper should analyze at least one film from each of
the three different periods.
Avoid simple generalizations. Refer to specific elements and details such as characters,
ideology, scenes, plot, cinematography (shot, editing), lighting, sound, music, and so
on. You may consult the required readings or do some research by looking into
additional material outside the class. Whatever you do, please always acknowledge your
source. Do not use and copy the exact sentences and passages of a publication or an
online source without appropriate citations.
The paper fulfills in part your writing requirement. Your writing is expected to reflect
college-level competence in form and content. Both what you write and how you write
will be evaluated. Relevant aspects of writing will be looked at as usual: coherence,
organization, argument, elegance, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and so on. You will
receive the “Grading Rubric” in a separate file attachment.
The paper is due Tuesday, February 14, 11:59 am (one minute before noon). Please
submit the paper electronically to the Canvas course site. No late paper will be
accepted without a legitimate excuse. Early submission is welcome.
If you would like to talk to me about the paper in person, my office hours are 1-2 pm,
Tuesday & Thursday, and by appointment. We can also chat right after the class. We
can also communicate through email.
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