Yeh, Emilie Yueh-yu. 2012. “China.” The International Film Musical. Eds. Corey K. Creekmur, and Linda Y. Mokdad. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 171-188.
Vocabulary: “diegetic,” i.e. “diegetic songs” = songs sung in the world of the film, heard by the characters in the film.

–“mise-en-scene”: put into the scene, placed in front of the camera

Study Qs

*According to Yeh, it is wrong to define Chinese musicals based on the Hollywood model (172). How does Yeh propose Chinese musicals be defined? What kinds of films fit into the category of “Chinese musical” in this article?

  • What types of “performing women” does Yeh introduce here?
  • How does Yeh summarize the attitude of the Chinese musical towards the feminine and feminism at the start of her article (172)?
  • What type of “performing woman” is Zhou Xuan (star of Street Angel)? What are the origins and associations of this term? What does this term mean in relation to film?
  • What sort of life did Zhou Xuan have, as described here? How did she start performing? What was her private life like? How were her songs and films received in China and outside of China after her death? What other famous films did she star in and which are described here? In what recent or contemporary films have her songs appeared?
  • What type of “performing woman” was Grace Chang (Ge Lan, in Chinese), according to this article? What global popular music/culture trends helped to influence the “new look” that this star brought to the Chinese musical?
  • Grace Chang is associated with a studio that was very famous in Hong Kong at one point. What is the name of this studio? What are some of the main reasons for this studio’s success in the late 1950s, as described here?
  • In Chn 152, we see Grace Chang performing in Wild, Wild Rose. What is the first film starring Grace Chang that Yeh discusses in her article (hint: it’s not WWR)? What is this film’s story? What are some of this film’s primary features, as described here? What makes this film significant, according to this analysis?
  • What sort of life did Grace Chang have, as described here? How does her biography compare with Zhou Xuan’s? In what recent or contemporary films have her songs appeared?
  • Throughout her article, Yeh brings up distinctions in the four types of performing women, but in the end she highlights what they have in common (185). What unites these types?


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