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6 The Narrative (II): Melodramas Fit for All

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines three Mingxing films and demonstrates that the three films, despite the different styles present in the originals and the different political labels pinned on them in later years, were melodramas in essence. Applying 'melodrama' in a stylistic rather than in a political way, the chapter views these Mingxing productions "as a crucial space in which the cultural, political, and economic exigencies were played out and transformed into public discourses", a space in which a wide spectrum of new knowledge and ideologies were transformed into popular discourses accessible to a wider public. The political labels of Butterfly, Left-wing, and Right-wing only serve to highlight the differences among these films, and fail to show crucially important continuities in the commercial and cultural practices of Shanghai filmmaking. The chapter examines Kuangliu (1933), arguably Mingxing's first Left-wing film after the studio 'transformed its style'.

Keywords: Butterfly; economic exigencies; Kuangliu; Left-wing; melodramas; Mingxing films; narrative; Right-wing



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