Thanks, many thanks, to Joe and to Zamira for contributing to this discussion. These are great recommendations. Zamira -- what could you use from Raise the Red Lantern? (I think there may be a couple scenes.)Whenever possible, please change the subject line to the name of the movie or the topic being discussed. This is a big help as readers scan the listings.
I also enjoyed this movie, it was reminiscent of another film: The Dead Poet Society” in which a group of College prep students embark on a journey of awakening and self discovery by reading poetry and the classics. Although the movie does not offer a critique of the horrors of the Cultural Revolution, it does give a personal glimpse into the lives of young people whose world is surrounded by uncertainty and chaos as they seek to find on answers in the universal world of literature. In the end, their “re-education” is brought about through their own transformations as a result of self reflections; instead of directives from the state.I located the film’s (“Dead Poets Society”) quotation from Henry David Thoreau that I thought was also appropriate for this film: "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived … I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms..."
"Raise the Red Lantern" is not banned in China. Actually, Zhang Yimou, who directed the film and also the 2008 Beijing Olympic Openning ceremony, directed the ballet with the same name. It is performed by National Ballet of China, and has had more than 100 shows in China. You may google the informaiton on "Google", and here is a link on Ytube of the ballet.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEOX0xE9qMQ[Edit by="lwang on Dec 2, 8:42:38 PM"][/Edit]
A recently released book explains the subsequent political and economic impact regarding Theodore Roosevelt's delegation which was sentto China. It is titled, "Imperial Cruise."In it, the author explains how then President Roosevelt sent a delegation to China (to negotiate a trade agreement).However, it would be the model which America would use to promote imperialism around the world.Cheryl Watson
The Good Earth is a classic. It also tells about family relationships, and women's status.
Lust Caution is a great movie. It tells about China's history duirng World War II in a unique way. The actress' name is Tang Wei. It was her 1st movie.
I found this link:http://www.archive.org/details/feature_filmsand there I foundhttp://www.archive.org/details/the_white_haired_girlI don't think all the films have subtitles, so some of them will be hard to understand.enjoy
I just received two early Christmas gifts from my Amazon.com Wishlist:The movie for my film review is NOT ONE LESS and I have heard a lot about it and can't wait to see it. I also got a book WHEN CHINA RULES THE WORLD. Both should be interesting, especiallty the book which has stirred a lot of copntroversy already.Any thoughts? (without spoiling the movie)
The White Haired Girl remains to be a cultural icon in China. She was a symbol of repressed, but rebellious woman who has self respect and pride because she refused to be a sex slave, or concubine of the rich landlord, and escaped to the mountains and lived there for many years before being rescued after 1949. The film and the ballet with the same name were based on a true story. The woman died a few years ago. Her granddaughter passed the very competitive Civil Servant exam this year, and launched her new job in a village near her grandma's hometown several months ago. It was a hot news on Chinese internet. However, there was a heated debate among college students in Wuhan, Hubei province recently on The White Haired Girl's value system. Female college students born after 1980s asked such questions: Why the White Haired Girl was reluctant to become a concubine or lover of a well established rich landlord? Why on earth she gave up the opportunity to enjoy a comfortable life and chose to live in the wild mountain like a animal?? One girl's reasoning was that she could have lived with the landlord, and even helped the poor with his money. The world has really changed, especially in China!
Until this class, I've never heard of the film, the White Haired Girl nor the symbolism that went along with the image. I wonder where the origin of this image started...the notion of white hair, etc. There's definitely a lot of films that I need to familiarize myself with. I could also use this parts of this film, in my 2/3rd grade class, to explore the notion of symbolism--how colors, images can be utilized in such a way to convey an idea.
It is said that the young woman lived in the forest for many years. Because she had no access to salt and nutrition, her hair all turned white. When she was rescured, she wore long, wild and white hairs. That's how she got the nickname. Some people say there were two "White Haired Girls", one was in Hebei, another lived in Sichuan. Most people believe the one in Sichuan is closer to the story. Brief translation from two Chinese websites about her life story: http://ent.sina.com.cn/m/2003-01-06/0940123796.html"White-haired girl" was called Luo Chang Xiu. She was born in Sichuan Province in 1923. The village landlord forced his dad to death ( in the movie, her dad committeed suicide because he wasn't able to pay back the debt), and beat her elder brother to death. The 16-year-old girl was forced to escape to the forest bording Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, and lived in the wild forest for 17 years. When she was rescured in 1956 at the age of 33, her hairs were all white. http://news.sohu.com/20091015/n267359930.shtmlSichuan News Net:The peasant Luo Chang Xiu was the original person of the story "White-Haired Girl". Before she passed away in 2002, she told her granddaughter to return to work in the countryside upon college graduation. This year, her granddaughter applied for the civil job in the remote area upon graduation because she wanted to be a good village officer at her grandma's hometown. In Sept 24, 2009, she realized her dream.
Last night, I viewed a film called Bangkok Dangerous with Nicolas Cage. Upon arriving in Bangkok, he described it as being dirty, corrupt and dense. The film shows images of Bangkok as being "the city of mirrors" in that there are reflective surfaces all around, so that one cannot truly "hide".Nicolas Cage is depicted as somewhat exploiting the talent of "Kong", his "student". He seeks Kong as his student because he sees him in a bizarre, trying to attract the attention of American men. He notices that he can speak English and that he wants to make money.I notice that the film depicts a sign that says in English, "Welcome to Bangkok, City of Dreams".The population of Bangkok, as far as the men go, depict harsh, cut-throat killers. Women are shown as meek and passive. Nicolas Cage falls in love with a deaf woman in a pharmacy. She further leaves him after learning that his job is that of a killer.I think that this film is an interesting study in the impact of western businessmen on the Asian world.
Just watched Ziyi Zhang's 1st, and by far the best movie "The Way Home" directed by Zhang, Yimou. It is a love story between a girl and the village teacher. It's very Chinese and touching. High school and college students could discuss about the cultural differences between the east and the west when showing love, and the Chinese tradition of respecting teachers (except the "Cultural Revolution" 10 years). I guess all teachers should love the movie.
I learned quite a bit about the Cultural Revolution in China as I watched "The Little Seamstress" with Patty and Joe. I had no idea of this revolution and it was even further reenforced when we spoke about this period in class. I really enjoyed this movie. The origins of the Cultural Revolution can be traced to the mid–1950s when Mao first became seriously concerned about the path that China's socialist transition had taken in the years since the CCP had come to power in 1949. His anxieties about the bureaucratization of the party, ideological degeneration in society as a whole, and the glaring socioeconomic inequalities that had emerged as China modernized escalated through the early 1960s and propelled him to embark on a crusade to expunge the “revisionism” that he believed was contaminating the party and the nation. Mao's decision to undertake the Cultural Revolution was strongly influenced by his analysis that the Soviet Union had already abandoned socialism for capitalism. The Cultural Revolution was also a power struggle in which Mao fought to recapture from his political rivals some of the authority and prestige that he had lost as a result of earlier policy failures. The Cultural Revolution is now referred to in China as the “decade of chaos” and is generally regarded as one of the bleakest periods in the country's modern history. The movement's ideals were betrayed at every turn by its destructive impulses. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of officials and intellectuals were physically and mentally persecuted.
One of my all-time favorite movies is the 2003 Korean Spring Summer Fall Winter and Spring directed by Ki-duk Kim. The cinematography is amazing, the place where the movie is shot is breathtakingly beautiful. I think it could be used in the language-arts classroom in conjunction with teaching any bildungsroman. Not only does it follow the seasons, as the title suggests, but it also follows the stages in a buddhist monk's life and in the young boy he is raising and training to replace him.
The documentary "Nanking" is great. It recorded the horrible time in human history that has long been ignored, and that still has an impact on people's life today.Anyone who is interested in the history of WWII, or Asia, should watch it.
I have lonng been a fan of Amy Tan. I do agree that her specialty is comparing and contrasting the modern Americaized Chinese woman of today with her ancestors. The thing that Ms Tan does so well is lure us into long gone cultures, and teach us that these women, of another time, still had profound feelings and emotions. We ultimately find out that our similarities are vast.
I have also ready Chinese Cinderella, and worked with another teacher on incorporating "Cinderella" stories from a variety of cultures to show how similiarities and differences exist in a beautiful way.Language is lost without the incorporation of cultural application.
This is a beautifully made Korean film. There’s not much dialogue in the film, but who needs words when the film speaks for itself. Besides the amazing four distinctive seasonal sceneries, the film portrays well the Buddhist message of detachment from the worldly affairs and emptying heart’s desires, not to mention the cyclical phases and journey of human life: from infancy to adolescence to adulthood to old age, and then back to infancy--just like the four seasons repeating its cycle--just like “Samsara” the journey of birth, death, and rebirth caused by “karma.”
This is another Korean film that I found quite interesting. The film title “Bin Jip” means “empty house” in Korean. This movie is a bit strange though… The main male and female characters break into empty houses to spend the night together. They are not thieves, they act as though they’re invited guests while the house owners are out of town. They even clean the house and do the laundry for them before they leave. What is so unique is that there’s no dialogue whatsoever throughout the film, except at the end, the female character says “I love you!” to her partner and the film ends. A bit bizarre but still quite interesting film. P.S. Many Koreans are into golf, as you can see in this film.
One of the most impressive Chinese films is Farewell My Concubine. Seeing it from a history teacher’s point of view, I liked how the film shows different eras in Chinese history and how the lives of the characters changed accordingly. It does a good job depicting the warlords through the Cultural Revolution, including the Japanese invasion of 1937, and the Communist takeover. There are some scenes that would not be appropriate for school kids but the teacher can pick and choose the ones relative to the lessons. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.
Most of my study of Japanese history has been through reading but recently I read a book about Japan from a completely different perspective. African Samurai: The True Story of Yasuke, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan is the story of an enslaved African who is taken to Japan as the bodyguard of a Jesuit. The book recounts his journey from his capture in Africa to his time as a mercenary fighting in India and eventually as a bodyguard for this Jesuit. As you read you learn how much the Jesuits played at local politics in Japan not only through their missionary goals but just to ensure their own economic gains, like exporting Japanese slaves to China. Eventually Yasuke is gifted to Oda Nobunaga who will eventually make him a samurai and grant him his own land and home with his own servants.
Yasuke’s story is an interesting one on different levels. I used it in my AP World history class as a comparison with the Atlantic Slave Trade and how the perception of race in the world changed with the Atlantic Slave Trade. But the intricacies of the story also illustrate a greater depth about the Sengoku period and European involvement then most histories get into. Plus it is just a freaking cool story.