The real devil in Chen Kaige’s farewell my concubine and Francois Girard the red violin
Sng, Min Yee
Date of Issue2016
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution spans over a decade long from 1966 to 1976, the polarizations of the art in favour of Mao Zedong’s political agendas reached its culmination during this period of time in China. Coincidentally, 2016 marks its 50th anniversary of the lives destroyed as a result of this cultural holocaust. For a revolution that arises in the name of ‘culture’, the emphasis and focus on political agendas and violence seemingly outweigh and overarches that of the impact it has on their arts and culture. In this paper I will be analyzing the films Farewell My Concubine directed by Chen Kaige and The Red Violin directed by Francois Girard respectively with the help of secondary sources such as Shiela A. Spector’s review on Fred Parker’s book The Devil as Muse: Blake, Byron, and the Adversary that challenges the idea that the Devil is evil for evil’s sake but that the Devil is a necessary and vital part of the creative process, Friedrich Nietzsche concept on the eternal reoccurrence to explore the idea of the rebirth of tragedy, in this case pertaining to the Cultural Revolution in China and examining the use and representation of musical forms in relation to several iconic scenes in both films to validate the presence of the “devilish” nature of art and the threat it poses on the people who are involved in them and the impact it has on China’s cultural anthropology as a whole. By comparing and contrasting the films Sng 1 Farewell My Concubine directed by Chen Kaige and The Red Violin directed by Francois Girard, I will be discussing if art is really the ultimate devil personified or is it the people who forcibly impose that stigma onto it so as to make it the scapegoat of their own villainy. And if art is what they claim it to be, is The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution a movement to exorcise China of the devil, or is the revolution a breeding ground that incites the reveling of a devil of another of evil?
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University