Shanghai gangster films and the politics of change

Tatu-Ilari Laukkanen
2020 Novos Olhares  
In this paper through a very close textual reading I will show the ideological differences between two films based on the life of Shanghai gangster Du Yuesheng (1888, Pudong – 1951, Hong Kong) through close formal and narrative analysis. Du was already a celebrity in his day in the Republican era and is still a con-troversial figure in Greater China. However, there are only two films based on the life of the French Con-cession opium kingpin, the recent Hong Kong/PRC co-production The Last
more » ... tion The Last Tycoon (Da Shang Hai, Wong Jing, 2012) and the epic two part Lord of the East China Sea I & II (Shang Hai huang di zhi: Sui yue feng yun & Shang Hai huang di zhi: Xiong ba tia xia, Hong Kong, Poon Man-kit 1993). I show how these films reflect HK's and China's politico-economic changes focusing on the representation of social class and the subject, depiction of internal migration and immigration, and nationalism. The films will be discussed in their relation to changes in the Hong Kong film industry, Chinese and world cinema and the transnational gangster genre, showing how local and global cinemas have affected these films.
doi:10.11606/issn.2238-7714.no.2020.172000 fatcat:wf5tploztvcehjsepugdd6zzqu