Moral Critique, Sentimentalism, and Gender
Chapter 1 examines the films Under the Hawthorn Tree and Coming Home and their nostalgic and sentimental style. In Under the Hawthorn Tree, nostalgia for the past derives from discontent with contemporary materialistic society, and socialism here represents a critique of materialism and consumerism. However, the film commodifies and fetishizes nostalgia in the female body, making the gendered nostalgia a selling point. Presented from a personalized perspective, Under the Hawthorn Tree and Coming Home embrace market logic and soothe the rupture in official discourses about the Cultural Revolution. In this case, personal memory is used as a selling point for a niche market of family dramas.
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