Three Times: Republican China, Socialist China, and Post-Mao China

Three Times: Republican China, Socialist China, and Post-Mao China

Write a paper on the following topic.

(Minimum length: 5 full pages.  Double space.  Font size: 12)


Goddess (Dir. Wu Yonggang, 1934)

Stage Sisters (aka Two Actresses) (Dir. Xie Jin, 1964)

Farwell My Concubine (Dir. Chen Kaige, 1993)

Raise the Red Lantern (Dir. Zhang Yimou, 1992)


Portions of other films were also shown in the lectures, such as The Big Road (Sun Yu, 1934), Street Angel (Yuan Muzhi, 1937), The White-Haired Girl (Wang Bin & Shui Hua, 1950), The Red Detachment of Women (Xie Jin, 1961) Yellow Earth (Chen Kaige, 1984), Red Sorghum (Zhang Yimou, 1987), and 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 under the rule of the Republic of China (1912-1949); 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 three films from different periods, 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. 


Avoid simple generalizations.  Refer to specific elements and details such as characters, scenes, sequences, plot, camera work (shot, editing), lighting, sound, music, and pacing (rhythm).  You may re-read relevant sections of the textbook, or do some research and consult additional material outside the class.  Whatever you do, please always acknowledge your source.  Do not use the words and ideas 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.