Negotiating “Ren Qing Wei” : Sheng Qinxian and her screenwriting practice in Occupied Shanghai

Research output: Conference PapersRGC 32 - Refereed conference paper (without host publication)peer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Conference

Title12th Spring History Symposium
LocationThe University of Hong Kong
CityHong Kong
Period4 - 5 May 2023

Abstract

The study investigates screenwriting practice of women film pioneer Sheng Qinxian (盛琴僊)in the mode of production of Huaying (China United Film Company Limited), looking at how she interpreted the style of “Ren Qing Wei” (人情味human touch) into a gesture of resistance to the gender and political ideology under Japanese occupation. Compared to another woman screenwriter Eileen Chang in the 40s, Sheng seems to be unfamiliar to most of film historians. During the occupied era, she wrote 3 films and started her own film magazine West Cinema(西影). Her writings did not conform to the political propaganda requirements of the studio nor to the entertainment-oriented trend, but present a kind of “Ren Qing Wei” that focuses on stories and details in urban daily life. How to understand the style of “Ren Qing Wei” in the film production of occupied context? Why Sheng takes this strategy in her screenwriting practice? How did she transformed “Ren Qing Wei” into her own way of negotiation and resistance? By addressing these issues, in bringing this pioneering woman back to film history, the study suggests that through practicing and portraying “Ren Qing Wei” flexibly, Sheng’s screenwriting reconciles the tit-for-tat between political propaganda and entertainment-oriented production, which in turn also reflects a series of constraints and difficulties she faced as the only woman scriptwriter in the film production at Huaying.

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Citation Format(s)

Negotiating “Ren Qing Wei”: Sheng Qinxian and her screenwriting practice in Occupied Shanghai. / JIN, Chen.
2023. Paper presented at 12th Spring History Symposium, Hong Kong.

Research output: Conference PapersRGC 32 - Refereed conference paper (without host publication)peer-review