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Shanghai alleys, theatrical practice, and cinematic spectatorship: from 'Street Angel' (1937) to Fifth Generation Film

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Forges, Alexander Des

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Abstract This article argues that a certain type of Shanghai film of the Republican period, exemplified by 1937's 'Street Angel' (Malu tianshi), makes use of a specific mode of spatial organization, modelled on the theatre, to represent the urban environment. In the case of Street Angel, and later on in 1964's 'Stage Sisters' (Wutai jiemei), the interaction between performers and audiences characteristic of the Shanghai theatre experience serves as a crucial ground on which to base calls to political action. For a variety of related reasons, both the city of Shanghai and this mode of spatial organization so closely associated with it vanish from the big screen in the 1980s and 1990s, and begin to make a return only at the turn of the new century.
Keywords China; film production; theater; public space; cinema; historical development; town
Classification Cultural Sociology, Sociology of Art, Sociology of Literature; Other Media
Free Keywords Social sciences; films; theatre; urban space; contemporary
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 29-51
Journal Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 39 (2010) 4
ISSN 1868-4874
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works