Drawing on the prevailing theoretical paradigm of post-Holocaust research, which defines primarily the post-traumatic subject positions of victim and perpetrator, this paper focuses on the Chinese cinema’s representation of collaboration during the Cultural Revolution (CR). It discusses the issue of betrayal inside the real or symbolic family, which is still unexplored and even overlooked by Chinese cinema research. Furthermore, it analyzes the prolonged and profound identity crisis generated by the CR as presented by twenty-first century blockbuster (e.g. Zhang Yimou’s Coming Home) and independent films (e.g. Wu Wenguang’s 1966: My Time in the Red Guards and Investigating My Father) especially through the figure of the collaborator and the destructive dynamics of betrayal. In these films, the process I term the ‘doubling paradigm,’ and its ‘doubling effect’ enable the spectator to come to terms with the dimensions of pain and loss caused by collaboration, and the ethical repercussions of revolutionary morality. Following an analysis of the four forms of collaboration which emerge from this corpus, this discussion points to the potential contribution of Chinese ‘cinema of betrayal’ to the undertheorized subject position of the collaborator, beyond the Chinese case.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by The Israel Science Foundation under Grant number 346/18. I thank Sandra Meiri, Xu Bin, Yomi Braester, Wang Chi, Xiaoqiang Han (Robin), Wenguang Wu, and Mengqi Zhang for their generous assistance.
This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation ISF [346/18]. This research was supported by The Israel Science Foundation under Grant number 346/18. I thank Sandra Meiri, Xu Bin, Yomi Braester, Wang Chi, Xiaoqiang Han (Robin), Wenguang Wu, and Mengqi Zhang for their generous assistance.
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- Chinese cinema
- Wu Wenguang
- Zhang Yimou
- cultural revolution
- the doubling effect
- the doubling paradigm