UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Making films with the enemy : Chinese collaborationist filmmakers in Manchukuo, 1937-1945 Guo, Ying


This thesis examines how Chinese and Japanese film history intersected during WWII. Focusing on the Manchurian Motion Picture Association (Man’ei), the national film company of Manchukuo, it reveals the effects of ideological and aesthetic negotiations in a Sino-Japanese cinematic organization based in Japanese-occupied Manchuria. Chapter 1 reviews existing scholarship on Man’ei. Chapter 2 traces Man’ei’s policy shift from being an extension of Japanese filmmaking to “making films for the Manchurians,” highlighting the role of Chinese filmmakers at Man’ei. I argue that a policy change that emphasized their ethnic Chinese identity actually enhanced their sense of being Manchukuo citizens. I go on to analyze the aesthetics and ideology of Man’ei productions staffed primarily by Chinese filmmakers. Chapter 3 compares the 1944 Man’ei film Tuberose (Wanxiangyu) with two Shanghai melodramas from which it drew inspiration: the spoken drama The Death of a Famous Actor (Mingyou zhi si, 1929) and the film blockbuster Begonia (Qiuhaitang, 1943). I argue that Tuberose’s conflicting aesthetics of melodramatic narration and documentary-like film language were in part a product of Man’ei’s new policy, and contributed to the film’s poor reception.

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