Nostalgia in Contemporary Chinese Cinema (1993-2008): A Reflection of China's Socio-Cultural Postmodernity
Thesis DisciplineCultural Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Since Deng Xiaoping's "South Tour Speech" which he delivered during his inspection of special economic region in southern China in 1992, China's reforms and opening-up have entered a period of stable and rapid development. These undoubtedly are driving a comprehensive range of areas of social transition in Chinese society, including state affairs, social activities, mass culture, and globalization. All these factors may have a significant impact on the situation of Chinese film, but in the meantime, local cinema will inevitably present contemporary China and its social culture in a certain way. This thesis chooses a period of time from 1993 to 2008 and examines "nostalgia", a unique area of contemporary Chinese cinema, as its basis for discussion. In the light of Western and postmodern cultural theories, this study aims to explore the current state of nostalgia film and its postmodern elements in China and to extend the discussion to social areas and cultural studies. The conclusion reached by the discussion includes two major aspects. First, through historical reconstruction and superficial pastiche, China's past (or its nostalgia) has inevitably presented certain distortions when facing the global mass cult and Chinese communist leitmotiv ideology. Second, contemporary China has reached the stage of a visually featured, postmodern consumer society.