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Fragmented Memories and Screening Nostalgia for the Cultural Revolution$
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Jing Meng

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9789888528462

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888528462.001.0001

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Beyond Nostalgia

Beyond Nostalgia

Agency and Auteuristic Expressivity in Fragmented Memories

(p.66) 3 Beyond Nostalgia
Fragmented Memories and Screening Nostalgia for the Cultural Revolution

Jing Meng

Hong Kong University Press

In Chapter 3, 11 Flowers represents personal and fragmented memories of the Cultural Revolution from an 11-year-old boy’s perspective. These memories challenge the monolithic narrative of history and the Maoist rhetoric of revolution. At the same time, this fragmented narrative mode enables individual agency in narrating and constructing history. In addition, through portrayals of everyday life in the Maoist era, the film reveals how the dominant ideology at that time was strategically misinterpreted by ordinary people and was dispersed in everyday life. Socialism, in this context, becomes a mystery, a joke, and a traumatic awakening. In the lm, art possesses enlightening power for the 11-year-old boy, who begins to obtain self-awareness through painting. The film thus conveys the director’s authorial enunciation and his belief in art as a form of liberation, not only for a boy in the Cultural Revolution but also for Wang Xiaoshuai as a film-maker. The shifting trajectory of Wang’s film-making—from independent to art house—alludes to the shifting relations between film-making, the state, and the market. In 11 Flowers, personal memories become the hallmark of Wang’s auteur expression.

Keywords:   11 Flowers, Film, The Cultural Revolution, Fragmented memories, Art house film, Auteur, Wang Xiaoshuai

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