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3 Players of the 1930s: Contestation? Collaboration?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter takes a fresh look at Xia Yan and his 'friends' and 'foes'. Locating Xia Yan and his 'friends' and 'enemies' in the concrete historical context of Mingxing as colleagues or equals of Bao Tianxiao, Song Chiping, and Hong Shen, the chapter questions the idea of a stark divide between ally and foe. It first briefly summarizes the standard story in which Xia and his colleagues are characterized according to ideological criteria. Then it probes the historical site of the 1930s, looking at the changing ecology of the film world, asking why and how Xia and his 'friends' (the so-called Left-wingers who were loosely affiliated with the CCP and left-wing cultural organizations) joined the film industry, and exploring why and how his 'enemies' (the so-called Rightwingers whose political orientation was supposed to be pro-government) were employed. Concerns for profits and public image played a central role.

Keywords: Bao Tianxiao; foes; friends; Left-wingers; Mingxing; Rightwingers; Song Chiping; Xia Yan



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