1. This paper is partially based on research conducted as an MPhil candidate at Cambridge University. I would like to thank my advisors and the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies for their advice and mentorship. Also, I would like to thank Chuck Kleinhaus for his useful suggestions in revising. [return to page 1]

2. Zhao, Xiaohui and Jiang, Xueli. “Coal Mining: Most Deadly Job in China.” Xinhua Nov 13 2004. [Online]

3.  Zhang, Li. Strangers in the City: Reconfigurations of Space, Power and Social Networks within China’s Floating Population. Stanford University Press: Stanford (2001): 143.

4. Rofel, Lisa. Other Modernities: Gendered Yearnings in China After Socialism. University of California Press: Los Angeles (1999): 96. In this usage of the term modernity, Rofel refers to what she calls the “post-Mao imaginary of modernity” on page 217.

5. Rofel: 102.

6. Rofel: 103.

7. Rofel: 103.

8. Rofel: 97.

9. Yang, Xiushi. “Interconnections Among Gender, Work and Migration.” Re-Drawing Boundaries: Work, Households and Gender in China. Ed. Entwisle, B and Henderson, G. University of California Press: Berkeley (2000): 197.

10. Jacka, Tamara. Rural Women in Urban China: Gender, Migration and Social Change. M.E. Sharpe, Inc: Armonk (2005): 247.

11. Sixth Generation and Urban Generation are both somewhat limited as labels. Sixth Generation tends to refer to directors who graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in the late 80’s/early 90’s and whose films focus on poverty, migration, and crime (Lou Ye, Wang Xiaoshuai, Jia Zhangke). This would exclude Li Yang (educated in Germany) and Ning Ying (educated at the BFA at the same time as the Fifth Generation, but her late start in filmmaking and focus on urban issues aligns her temporally and thematically with the Sixth Generation). On the other hand, the term Urban Generation does not suggest films that take place outside of city spaces, like Platform (2000, d. Jia Zhangke) and Li Yang’s films. Of the two, “Urban Generation” is perhaps more useful in describing the gritty contemporary dramas from the mid 1990’s to the late 2000’s.

12. Donald, Stephanie Hemelryk. Public Secrets, Public Spaces: Cinema and Civility in China. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc: Boulder (2000): 121.

13. Zhang, Zhen. “Bearing Witness: Chinese Urban Cinema in the Era of ‘Transformation.’” Zhang, Zhen, ed. The Urban Generation: Chinese Cinema and Society at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century. Duke University Press: London (2007): 2-6.

14. Teo, Stephen. “There is no Sixth Generation! Director Li Yang on Blind Shaft and His Place in Chinese Cinema.” Senses of Cinema 57 (2003).

15. Bian, Yanjie. “Chinese Social Stratification and Social Mobility.” Annual Review of Sociology 28 (2002): 108.

16. Chau, Adam Yuet. Miraculous Response: Doing Popular Religion in Contemporary China. Stanford University Press: Stanford (2006): 153.

17. Chau: 153.

18. Chow, Rey. Sentimental Fabulations, Contemporary Chinese Films. Columbia University Press: New York (2007): 14. [return to page 2]

19. Chow: 15.

20. Chow: 17.

21. Chow: 17.

22. Chow: 17-18.

23. Chow: 18.

24. Chow: 18.

25. Chow: 19.

26. Chow: 19.

27. Chow: 19-21.

28. Chow: 174.

29. Chow: 172.

30. Chow: 22.

31. In the case of Liu Qingbang’s novel Sacred Wood (Shenmu), which this film is based on, this was the case, but Li Yang found it too trite for the film. See: Berry, Michael. Speaking in Images. Columbia University Press: New York (2005).

32. Berry. 222.

33. Berry: 226.

34. Note, on international DVD’s the ending is different. Bai Xuemei stabs her husband in the final scene and whether or not she keeps her son is open to interpretation. [return to page 3]

35. Films with such characters include: So Close to Paradise, 1998, dir. Wang Xiaoshuai; Blind Shaft, 2003, dir. Li Yang; The World, 2004, dir. Jia Zhangke; Luxury Car, 2006, dir. Wang Chao.

35a. Hershatter, Gail. Women in China’s Long Twentieth Century. University of California Press, 2007, p79.

36. Teng, Jinhua Emma. “The Construction of the ‘Traditional Chinese Woman’ in the Western Academy: A Critical Reading.” Signs 22.1 (Autumn 1996): 143.

37. Chow: 178-179.

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