Writing

Please watch three movies and finish three questions below

Your answers should each be at least 400 words in length. They should display a grasp of the content of the films in question and an awareness of the issues discussed in class. Please focus on producing good close readings of the films and of your critical interpretations. 

1. In Wong Kar-wai’s Chungking Express, the waitress, Faye at the Midnight Express, loves listening to loud music, particularly, “California Dreamin’” by the Mamas and Papas. Please consider how is the song “California Dreamin’” used throughout the second part of the film? 

In the following conversation, Faye explains to Cop 633 about why she does that: Cop 633: You like noisy music?
Waitress: Yes. The louder the better. Stops me from thinking.
Cop 633: You don’t like to think? What do you like?

Waitress: Never thought about it.

What does that say about Faye’s personalities? How does Faye’s way of listening to music reveal about her life and her relationships? How does the usage of music help describe key questions of urban alienation and (lack of) effective communication in a postmodern city like Hong Kong?

2. In Ang Lee’s movie, Wedding Banquet, one important issue is how to deal with Chinese traditional values in the modern times. Please find cases in the movie that regard traditional values as oppressive forces and hindering the modernizing process. Please also find cases that argue for the opposite, which considers Chinese tradition as an adaptive and dynamic system that transforms itself to meet the modern challenges.

3. Zhang Yimou’s film, To Live, explores the intricate entanglements between the political and the personal lives in modern China. Whereas events in the political domain, such as the civil war and the Great Leap Forward movement, greatly controlled and changed people’s lives, do you think that the personal life is still able

in some respects to find a way to maintain its autonomy, to remain independent of the political domain? How is personal life in the film portrayed, compared with political life? To what extent do you agree that the personal life is able to triumph over the political life in this film? Please find moments in the movie to support your idea. 

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