Transforming Families in Chinese Melodrama Under the Influence of May Fourth


One of the most important dates in twentieth- century Chinese history is May 4, 1919. May Fourth Movement is a lasting significant movement that is not just for political demands. It has long-lasting effects on Chinese cultural and intellectual activities up to the present day. Intellectuals in that time were not only asking for political reform, but also calling for culture reform in western style. The May Fourth Movement is broadly left-leaning in politics and advocate a strong cultural nationalism, its influences spread across cultural production from literature to film. In Chinese tradition, the family rather than individual or the state was the most important social unit, and it was against in the May Fourth Movement. In this paper, I will focus on several family melodramas from 1920s to 1930s, exam how they represent families during this transitional era. Then, I will exam the films today, to see their similarities and differences. What does a modern family look like in film, in visual representation, and how does it differ from literature's representation? I consider the liberal theory and feminist theory that were raised during May Fourth to examine whether these theories affect the representation of families, female and male characters in film, how these theories affect the representation of families, female and male characters in family melodrama. 2019 is the 100 anniversary of May Fourth. Through this comparison, I will exam whether the influence of May Fourth still exits, and how it and will impress the modern China.

Author Information
Yiyuan Zhang, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2019
Stream: Film and Literature: Artistic Correspondence

This paper is part of the MediAsia2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon