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Commercializing Ideologies : Intellectuals and Cultural Production at the Mingxing (Star) Motion Picture Company, 1922 - 1938

Huang, Xuelei

German Title: Die Kommerzialisierung der Ideologien : Intellektuelle und Kulturelle Produktion bei der Mingxing (Stern) Film AG, 1922 - 1938

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Abstract

This dissertation presents an in-depth look at a pioneering Chinese film company, the Mingxing (Star) Motion Picture Company, and reveals the ways in which intellectual ideas were transformed into part of commercial films as well as the implications of this production in a time of drastic social change in China. This study based on a wide range of primary source materials revises the conventional history of early Chinese cinema in many respects. I challenge the conventional categorization of screenwriters and directors along political or ideological lines and argue that cultural production at the commercial film company facilitated the dissemination of intellectual ideas through a combination of commercial drives and joint efforts of many allegedly radically different groups of filmmakers. With the aim to look into the dynamic process of cultural production at Mingxing, this study is divided into three parts. Part One (Chapter 1) reconstructs the institutional and economic history of Mingxing. Part Two (Chapters 2-4) presents a revisionist analysis of film producers at Mingxing. By unfolding a network of interactions and entanglements between Mingxing?s film directors and screenwriters, I argue that these persons acted as an intermediary that bridged the intellectual world and the film industry. In Part Three (Chapters 5-7), I analyze the narrative and thematic motifs of Mingxing films and show that issues expressed in films generally resonated with the contemporary intellectual discourse on modernity and national salvation. In doing so, I demonstrate that cinema played a largely unrecognized role in China's modern transformation in its specific ways.

Translation of abstract (other)

Abstract in Chinese: 本文研究上海明星影片公司的公司史,试图揭示知识分子的话语和思想如何通过商业电影生产而转化成电影话语的一部分,以及这一文化生产在民国初年这一巨大变革时代的意义。本文通过对原始材料的充分运用,挑战了传统中国电影史对早期电影生产的泛政治化解读,并试图论证早期中国电影生产实则包含了更多的复杂性,始终体现了商业利益和知识分子的理念表达之间的复杂平衡。在这一平衡机制的作用之下,晚清民国时代的诸多新观念通过电影这一媒体传播到了更广泛的民众中去。本文第一部分(第一章)讨论了明星公司的经济运作和公司发展。第二部分(第二至四章)分析了参与明星公司电影创作的人员的人际网络和互动关系。我试图说明这些人员成为沟通知识界和电影界的重要中介。第三部分(第五至七章)研究明星影片的主题和叙事策略。通过细读各种文本,我将呈现影片主题和时代知识分子话语之间的重叠性。通过对明星公司的深度研究,本文最终试图探讨电影作为一种通俗文化形态在中国的现代化转型过程中所发挥的功能。

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Mittler, Prof. Dr. Barbara
Date of thesis defense: 5 August 2009
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2010 11:01
Date: 2009
Faculties / Institutes: Philosophische Fakultät > Institut für Sinologie
Subjects: 791 Public performances
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chinese film , Republican China
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