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