Young Rebels in Contemporary Chinese Cinema

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Hong Kong University Press, Sep 1, 2007 - Social Science - 232 pages
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Has China in the 1980s gone through a phase of "youth rebellion" comparable with that represented in films such as Rebel Without a Cause (1954), Look Back in Anger (1959) or Easy Rider (1969)? The present study is an attempt to look for evidence in the "youth-rebellion" films produced over that period of time that may help to answer the question.

In the last twenty years of the twentieth century, the People's Republic of China underwent profound transformations, of which the changing situation of youth was particularly striking. In a society that has traditionally assumed respect for age, the prominence of youth and their new autonomy were conspicuous. A young generation born on the eve of and growing up during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) came to depart from the established social norms by the late 1980s and were considered "rebels," standing in an antagonistic relationship with mainstream ideology. Young Rebels in Contemporary Chinese Cinema analyzes the construction of "youth culture" in 1980s China by examining young-rebel films in terms of three areas: products (rock 'n' roll music), belief (or lack of it) and mode of behaviour. The study also contexualizes these films by tracing the relationship between changes in politics and changes in film from the 1950s to the present, with particular reference to the altered portrayal of young adults in the 1980s.

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Reforming China
1 Life dir Wu Tianming Xian Film Studio 1984
The Apolitics of Rebellion
1 Drive to Win dir Zhang Nuanxin Youth Film Studio 1981
4 Awakening dir Teng Wenji Xian Film Studio 1981
7 Samsara dir Huang Jianxin Xian Film Studio 1988
8 Samsara dir Huang Jianxin Xian Film Studio 1988
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
1 Rock Kids dir Tian Zhuangzhuang Beijing Film Studio 1988
2 In the Heat of the Sun dir Jiang Wen Dragon Air Film 1994
Chapter 5
Appendix 1
Appendix 2

1 Sunshine and Showers dir Zhang Zeming Pearl River
3 Out of Breath dir Ye Daying Shenzhen Film Company 1988
6 Half Flame Half Brine dir Xia Gang Beijing Film Studio 1988

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About the author (2007)

Zhou Xuelin is lecturer in the Department of Film, Television and Media Studies of the University of Auckland. He has publications on British popular culture and Chinese-language film, and his recent research focuses on the representation of "marginalized youth" in a variety of national and semi-national cinemas in East Asia, such as those of Japan, South Korea, mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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