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Screening CommunitiesNegotiating Narratives of Empire, Nation, and the Cold War in Hong Kong Cinema$
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Jing Jing Chang

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9789888455768

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888455768.001.0001

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Familial Address and the Aesthetics of Lunli

Familial Address and the Aesthetics of Lunli

(p.102) 4 Familial Address and the Aesthetics of Lunli
Screening Communities

Jing Jing Chang

Hong Kong University Press

Chapter 4 examines the didactic message promoted by Hong Kong’s left-leaning Cantonese filmmakers (including the Union, Xinlian, Overseas Chinese and Hualian) through their lunlipian (Family melodrama or social ethics films). In particular, I argue that the pedagogical work of lunlipian was not merely through narratives of a reconfigured Confucian family, but also through the audience-hailing effect of marketing, which constructed cinemagoers as members of a collective family in Hong Kong’s postwar community. The critical intervention of this chapter is to unpack the usage and function of lunlipian from contextual, critical, and textual perspectives, and to theorize the social function of lunlipian as a didactic familial address that contributed to the postwar process of screening community. In theorizing the lunli mode of storytelling, this chapter suggests a new periodization of Cantonese golden age cinema that presents an alternative narrative, from one of aesthetic rupture and commercial decline, to one of moral and didactic continuity and industrial adaptation. Screening community during the 1960s therefore is constituted as a negotiated site of spectatorship as well as a strategy of audience address.

Keywords:   Family melodrama, Social ethics film, Lunlipian, Lunli, Confucianism, Wenyipian, Interpellation, Familial address, Audience address

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