Women as Metaphors in Chinese Cinema Analytical Essay by Nicky

An analysis of the use of women as metaphors for the oppression of the Chinese populace in the films "Stage Sister," "Spring in a Small Town" and "City of Glass".
# 150117 | 1,143 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2012 | US

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The paper examines the 1964 film "Stage Sister", where the political activism of the heroine proves more empowering than finding personal fulfillment through love. The paper then looks at the 1948 film "Spring in a Small Town" and how it reflects a prerevolutionary belief in the value of honoring one's commitment to the past, such as an arranged marriage made by one's family. Finally, the paper discusses an example of more recent cinema, the 1998 film "City of Glass", and how it has attempted to depict female choices in a more complex, less binary fashion.

From the Paper:

"The use of women as metaphors for the oppression of the populace is seen perhaps paradigmatically in the starkly political film Stage Sister, directed by Xie Jin, whereby Jin's film uses prerevolutionary times as a contrast with the more enlightened post-Communist era. The film does occasionally transcend its communist ideology to provide wider critique of the difficulties of women who seek to find a voice outside of highly rigid modes of expression, in this case, the Chinese opera. But Stage Sister was released during 1964, during a period of heavy Maoist ideological domination of the Chinese media. By selecting a prerevolutionary context to open the film, Jin can at times mount a more subtle critique of the way women are treated in society. But the presumption is always that in the new Maoist era, women do not suffer such abuses as oppression by men and in-laws, although by depicting such difficulties on screen, even contemporary women could conceivably identify with the heroine Chunhua's struggles in her past.
"The main character Chunhua is a young and beautiful widow, suffering the tyranny of her in-laws, separated (as is the custom), from her own family by marriage. To escape her in-laws she flees her home and becomes a singer in a traveling peasant opera troop. She finds a new sister, and creates a gender-blurring alliance with Yuehong. But the two women are still treated like commodities, as they are sold into another opera company. The decadence of the new company is manifest when the formerly 'masculine' Yuehong leaves her 'stage sister' for Tang, the domineering and patriarchal leader of the company."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • City of Glass. Directed by Mabel Cheung Wan Ting. 1998.
  • Spring in a Small Town. Directed by Mu Fei. 1948.
  • Stage Sisters. Directed by Xie Jin. 1964.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Women as Metaphors in Chinese Cinema (2012, January 26) Retrieved February 06, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/women-as-metaphors-in-chinese-cinema-150117/

MLA Format

"Women as Metaphors in Chinese Cinema" 26 January 2012. Web. 06 February. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/women-as-metaphors-in-chinese-cinema-150117/>