This book examines the surprisingly large number of films about ethnic minority children in China, considering key questions such as Why are ethnic minority children becoming more intriguing to Chinese filmmakers? What are their roles in the films literally and allegorically? And how are they placed on screen geographically and why? It argues that ethnic minority children's appeal lies in their special relationship with childhood, ethnicity, nationalism, and rurality; and that for dominant Han urban adults and elite ethnic minorities they serve as "the other" for these people's construction of themselves as self-conscious modern subjects during China's rapid social-political transformations. This book explores the diversity of ways in which both Han and ethnic minority filmmakers take up the special features of ethnic minority children to facilitate their expression of certain ideas or ideals, as well as the roles of these films in their directing careers.
Zhenhui Yan completed her thesis in the Department of Humanities and Languages at the University of New South Wales, Australia.
1 Introduction: Ethnic minority children's allegorical functions, identity construction, and geographies in postsocialist Chinese cinema 2 Children, nature, and animals: Dai children's adventure in a forest 3 Natural landscapes as musical spaces: Uyghur children's yearnings in a national narrative 4 Beijing and rural Guizhou in focalisations: Miao children's relationships with the nation-state and ethnic tradition 5 Cinematic space in a relational construction: Heroes and a reconstruction of ethnic relationships through children's interethnic interactions 6 Grasslands as transitional spaces of play: Mongol children's reimagination of the world 7 A young lama as Sun Wukong: Contradictions and flexibility in a contemporary Tibetan child's identity construction 8 Conclusion: Some observations about the images of ethnic minority children in postsocialist Chinese cinema