Case study: Film “Once Upon a Time in China III”

Chinese Culture and Traditions

Here is a list of topics for your final paper. Please concentrate on producing good close

readings and analysis of primary sources. You are encouraged, but not obliged to, draw

upon the critical articles assigned. The essay should have a coherent structure and

original argument supported by specific textual analysis of the film(s). Avoid

unnecessary plot summary and generalization, and the more tightly defined the topic, the

better. The paper is 5 pages long, double-spaced, font 12.

Choose ones from the following topics:

1. Although they can be categorized into different genres, many of this semester’s films

deal with Chinese nation, national culture, and national consciousness. Take the film

Once Upon a Time in China III as a case study. Please discuss how China or Chineseness

is represented, contested, or negotiated in this film.

2. Of all the filmic elements, sound and music are especially powerful in terms of their

emotional impact and thematic construction. Wong Kar-wai’s Chungking Express is an

interesting case in point. Please discuss the effect of sound/music in place. How does

sound/music highlight the meaning projected by filmic images? In what ways does

sound/music help describe personalities and form cultural identities?

3. This semester, we discussed a variety of films that seek to describe modern or post-

modern urban experiences, such as Chungking Express (Hong Kong) and Yi Yi (Taipei).

Consider the disparate city landscapes that were mapped out in one or two of these films.

How did these films articulate various cultural mentality and individual psychology in

specific urban topographies?

4. In Ang Lee’s Wedding Banquet, how were traditional Chinese moral and cultural

values portrayed in the communities of overseas Chinese in America? Please consider

both positive and negative aspects of these values as represented by this film.

The films can be found on Youtube

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