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Messages and Values in Global Cinema

Rob Miller | Friday March 14, 2014

Categories: A Level, OCR A Level, OCR A2, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, World Cinema, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Russian Ark, Genres & Case Studies, Action, Drama, Fantasy, History, Romance, Hot Entries, Key Concepts, Audience, Film Language, Representation

OCR A2 Film Studies Unit F633: Global Cinema and Critical Perspectives Section A: Messages and Values in Global Cinema

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The study of “two contrasting non-English language texts that derive from different countries of origin”:

  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (China, Honk Kong, Taiwan) 2000
  • Russian Ark (Russia, Germany) 2002

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Both films, one a Wuxia martial arts/romance hybrid and the other a historical drama-documentary provide audiences with an understanding of Chinese and Russian culture, within the framework of the historical past of these great countries. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is set during the Qing Dynasty in China during the 43rd year (1779) of the reign of the Qianlong Emperor while Russian Ark is a journey through 300 years of different periods of Russian history, art and culture filmed entirely in the Winter Palace of the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. Again, both films explore notions of tradition and modernity within different contexts – an arguably feminist discourse and love story in Crouching Tiger and a narrator who interacts with performers and who leads the audience by the hand as does the 96-minute, unbroken tracking shot in Russian Ark.

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Directed by Ang Lee, Crouching Tiger was based on the fourth novel in a pentalogy known in China as the Crane Iron Pentalogy written by Wuxia novelist Wang Dulu in the 1940s, towards the end of the Chinese Civil War. Taiwanese screenwriter Hui-Ling Wang adapted the novel. Wuxia films and Wuxia literature (and opera and television) would be a clear, recognisable genre to Chinese national audiences while the ‘western’ spectator may understand notions of martial arts and romance in terms of some conventions but who would not necessarily have the cultural capital to fully understand the intertextual references and cultural signposting. Wuxia films are Chinese martial...


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