Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUC San Diego

Shanghai in contemporary Chinese film


This thesis is intended to investigate a series of films produced since the 1990s. All of these films deal with the theme of Shanghai, old or new, yet, under different circumstances, they are of disparate styles and perspectives and represent various ideological and cultural characteristics of each period. In Chapter One, I will discuss Zhang Yimou's Shanghai Triad, Chen Kaige's Temptress Moon and two films by Lou Ye, Suzhou River and Purple Butterfly, from which we can see the differences between two generations of Chinese filmmakers. While the Fifth Generation tend to imagine and investigate in the framework of Chinese history, the younger generation avoids the grand narrative and chooses to focus more on the life of individuals and their inner world. Chapter Two will take three Hong Kong films as examples, one by Ann Hui and the other two by Stanley Kwan. From these three films, we can see a special relationship between Shanghai and Hong Kong and the circulation of urban culture in modern Chinese history. Chapter Three will examine some newer films, respectively by younger directors Zhang Yibai and Lee Xin and by three world-renowned directors Ang Lee, Ann Hui, and Stanley Kwan. Some of these films pay attention to contemporary urban life, but some still dwell on the past to make further explorations. The diversity of these films apparently reflects the chaotic and noisy era we are living in, and through them we can hear the different voices of anxiety, bewilderment, optimism, sentimentalism or nostalgia

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View