World Literature: Chinese Films
Movie Big Shot’s Funeral (Feng Xiaogang, 2001)
Yoyo seeks help of Louis King, an event promoter, in arranging Tyler’s traditional memorial ceremony, while he is still alive. As long as King is unable to proceed with the plans because of the lack of funds, he decides to reincarnate Tyler into a black boy in order to get financial aid from donors. What follows is a dramatic turn of events with corporations all over the world earnestly vying for the opportunity to broadcast the Tyler’s funeral. The funeral event turns up to be a platform advertisement with balloons promoting Korean cosmetic products, giant billboards for Outback Steakhouse, and a column advertising beer.
Feng Xiaogang is critical about commercialism. This is evident from how he presents numerous corporate groups as being ready to take a course in advertising the funeral of a person that is not even dead. Their main aim is to find a front to promote their merchandise even when that avenue is a funeral (Linyong, 2001).
Movie The World (Jia Zhanbgke, 2004)
According to Jia Zhanbgke’s movie The World, the freedom to travel is greatly dependent on a passport and money. This document is a symbol of both identity and freedom. When Anna’s passport is snatched away, she loses her own identity and freedom to travel to see her sister. Again, because she is not getting enough money (which she plans to us to travel to Ulan Batar to visit her sister) from her job, Anna decides to quit it and engage into prostitution, a clear indication of moral identity. As for Tao, she dresses up as a flight attendant in order to freely board a plane; her freedom to travel depends on it.
Jia Zhanbgke’s film The World is built on falsehood and fantasy that allows to show how globalization and modernization have destroyed the modern society. Although modernization may give you money, cell phone, and fancy clothes, it takes away the important aspects which bring happiness and meaning to life: face-to-face communication, trust, and self-dignity. The characters’ lives in the movie are based on falsehood; they are all living in fantasy world, far away from these realities.
Movie It’s My Day Off (Lu Ren, 1959)
It’s My Day Off is an educational comedy promoting socialism by emphasizing themes of community and kinship. The film centers around the daily work of MaTianmin, a policeman who is also bachelor. The film upholds the sense of solidarity and importance of helping each other. The wife of Ma’s chief, Yao Meissen, becomes his matchmaker by arranging a date for him to on his day-off with a postal worker named Liu Ping. At his first date, Ma is caught up assisting an old farmer to sell his pigs in the city and thus misses the date with Liu. At his second date at the theatre, Ma is caught up again takingg care of a child who is ill; thus he is late again for the date arranged by Yao. However, his failure to show up is forgiven when Liu’s father realizes that Ma is the man that had assisted the old man with his pigs in the city. He is also defended by his chief who explains that Ma was late because of his commitment to duty. As a result, Ma is allowed to marry Liu (Zhiwei and Yingjin, 1998). This is significant as it shows that helping other people comes before one’s personal needs and such gestures do not go unrewarded.
Movie Suzhou River (Lou Ye, 2000)
The relationship between Mudan and Mardar represents ideal love. At a bridge, Mudan challenges Mardar’s love before plunging into Suzhou River with the promise that she will return one day as a mermaid. Truly, Mardar meets Mudan after his death at the same river in a drunken accident (Bu, 2005).
The videographer has invented the story of the two lovers for Meimei in order to make her believe that their love would transcend any boundaries like that of Mudan and Mardar. However, he is not willing to pursue a fairy tale version of love but wants to be realistic.
The director Lou Ye views Shanghai as a city that is going through a transition. Ye develops romance and love scenes in the movie that symbolize the negative influences of the West which are associated with commercialization and globalization (Hongwei, 2010).