By Michael Berry
The portrayal of ancient atrocity in fiction, movie, and pop culture can demonstrate a lot in regards to the functionality of person reminiscence and the moving prestige of nationwide id. within the context of chinese language tradition, motion pictures resembling Hou Hsiao-hsien's City of Sadness and Lou Ye's Summer Palace and novels corresponding to Ye Zhaoyan's Nanjing 1937: A Love Story and Wang Xiaobo's The Golden Age jointly reimagine prior horrors and provides upward thrust to new old narratives.
Michael Berry takes an leading edge examine the illustration of six particular historic traumas in sleek chinese language historical past: the Musha Incident (1930); the Rape of Nanjing (1937-38); the February 28 Incident (1947); the Cultural Revolution (1966-76); Tiananmen sq. (1989); and the Handover of Hong Kong (1997). He identifies basic modes of restaging historic violence: centripetal trauma, or violence inflicted from the skin that conjures up a reexamination of the chinese language country, and centrifugal trauma, which, originating from inside, conjures up anxious narratives which are projected out onto a transnational imaginative and prescient of worldwide desires and, occasionally, nightmares.
These modes permit Berry to attach portrayals of mass violence to rules of modernity and the country. He additionally illuminates the connection among historic atrocity on a countrywide scale and the discomfort skilled through the person; the functionality of movie and literature as ancient testimony; the intersection among politics and paintings, background and reminiscence; and the actual benefits of recent media, that have came upon new technique of narrating the weight of historic violence.
As chinese language artists started to probe formerly taboo facets in their nation's historical past within the ultimate a long time of the 20 th century, they created texts that prefigured, echoed, or subverted social, political, and cultural traits. A heritage of Pain recognizes the far-reaching effect of this artwork and addresses its profound position in shaping the general public mind's eye and conception-as good as misconception-of glossy chinese language history.
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Extra resources for A History of Pain: Trauma in Modern Chinese Literature and Film
The women were bound together at their necks with a heavy rope—strung one to another like pearls. Stumbling with each step, they were covered with mud. Babies lay everywhere on the ground. The organs of those trampled like turf under horses’ hooves or people’s feet were smeared in the dirt, and the crying of those still alive filled the whole outdoors. Every gutter or pond that we passed was stacked with corpses, pillowing each other’s arms and legs. The blood had flowed into the water, and the combination of green and red was producing a spectrum of colors.
As meticulous as Chen Chieh-jen’s restaging of history may be, he is also reminding us (often through small details, like the modern hairstyle of the condemned man) that the entire film is, like his earlier digital “Traveling to the center of pain”: (left) Observers and a Western photographer in late Qing–era costume as seen through the wound in the victim’s left chest. The camera pans slowly to the right to reveal (right) observers in modern dress through the hole in his right chest. Courtesy of the artist.
Prelude: a history of pain 24 his play. In The Peach Blossom Fan the audience/reader is addressed not only by the characters but also by the Master of Ceremonies, a figure whose direct speeches represent a perspective purportedly detached from the action of the play proper. The Master of Ceremonies actually appears in the play, which lends his commentary an added degree of authenticity, as he is a participant in the history playing out onstage. And though the events portrayed are mere dramatizations, in the narrative approach there is always a unified perspective—even when a “detached” storyteller appears, he is not a stand-in for the author but a witness to history.
A History of Pain: Trauma in Modern Chinese Literature and Film by Michael Berry