Mainstream Culture Refocused: Television Drama, Society, and by Xueping Zhong

By Xueping Zhong

Serialized tv drama (dianshiju), probably the most well-liked and influential cultural shape in China over the last 3 many years, deals a large and penetrating examine the tensions and contradictions of the post-revolutionary and pro-market interval. Zhong Xueping's well timed new paintings attracts recognition to the a number of cultural and historic legacies that coexist and problem one another inside of this dominant type of storytelling. even if students are inclined to concentration their recognition on elite cultural tendencies and avant-garde hobbies in literature and picture, Zhong argues for spotting the complexity of dianshiju's melodramatic mode and its numerous subgenres, in influence "refocusing" mainstream chinese language tradition. Mainstream tradition Refocused opens with an exam of tv as a story motif in 3 modern chinese language art-house movies. Zhong then turns her consciousness to dianshiju's most vital subgenres: "emperor dramas," "anti-corruption dramas," "youth dramas," and "family-marriage dramas." The Epilogue returns to the connection among intellectuals and the construction of mainstream cultural which means within the context of China's post-revolutionary social, fiscal, and cultural transformation.

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At the start of the scene, the frame is completely filled by a television screen, showing one episode of Dynasty (the well-known American prime-time soap opera that ran between 1981 and 1989). Two lovers, their conversations dubbed in Chinese, are in an intimate moment. Meanwhile, an off-screen space is indicated through the sound of breathing and snoring. With a reverse cut, we see the three members of Ermo’s family—husband, son, and Ermo—still sitting on stools against a wall, sound asleep. Their collective breathing is amplified while the camera lingers on their faces and then, zooming out, on the rows of stools in front of them (indicating that the whole village has been here, but they have now all left).

The script writers of Yearnings included such then well-known writers as Wang Shuo and Zheng Wanlong (both of whom had been known for having produced “oppositional” literature). 64 Like Williams, most of these critics did not immediately associate the medium of television with commercial interests but as yet another addition to the existing narrative forms in literature, film, and theater, only more promising in terms of transmission and reception. I identify this as another layer in the quantitative and qualitative dialectic regarding the evolution of television drama in China.

Incidentally, anyone familiar with the history of the People’s Republic of China would infer that the apartment must have been assigned by the factory to his mother: it is located in an old residential compound that bears the marks of an earlier era. The buildings, like the characters old and young in the film, though for now still left standing, nevertheless look run down and depressingly grey in the midst of a dilapidated landscape that is in yet another moment of transition. Unlike that bygone Maoist era, however, the remaining living spaces built during that era, though visibly run-down, continue to stand, bearing with them overlapping temporali- F i l m ic - T e l e v is ua l I n t e r t e x t ua l i t y & I d e o lo g ic a l R e n e g ot i at i o n s : 37 ties in the present.

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