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In: Conflicting Memories
In: Conflicting Memories
In: Conflicting Memories
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Abstract

Three major history films were produced in Mongolia and Tibet in the socialist era that dealt with the role of earlier Chinese dynasties in those areas. Two of the films – Tsogt Taij (1945) and Budala gong mishi (1989) – portray events in Tibet in the seventeenth century and include portrayals of the Fifth Dalai Lama and the Mongolian leader, Gushri Khan. The third film, Mandukhai setsen khatun (1989), deals with fifteenth century history in Mongolia and the effort to maintain national unity. The three films were produced during brief periods of relative relaxation in socialist ideology, and each reflected the considerable influence of local historians and intellectuals in the views they presented of local history, producing epic accounts of nationalist heroes or heroines and of their efforts to defend or build up the nation or nationality against powerful foreign enemies. The films seem to have been understood locally at the time or later as criticising a colonising power or occupier, but in fact the stories of each film focus on internal or neighbouring enemies who from an outside perspective appear less significant. The paper discusses the relative absence of the external enemy from these films and analyses the forms of emotional characterisation used to mark the different ethnic and political groups portrayed in the films. This analysis suggests that views held by subaltern communities towards other dominated groups or minorities, often dismissed as forms of erroneous displacement, deserve serious consideration as reflections of complex, emic understandings of political relations and priorities in colonial- type conditions.

In: Inner Asia
In: Conflicting Memories
In: Conflicting Memories
Author:

Abstract

A film, a television series, four plays and an opera have been produced in China since 1997 dramatising the invasion of Tibet by the British in 1903 04. These works were part of an official effort to enhance patriotic spirit among Chinese and Tibetan people through historical example, as well as an attempt to represent Tibetans as participants in a broader Chinese resistance to Western aggression and humiliation. They coincided with an official call for film-makers to make propaganda more appealing and a decisive turn in Chinese cinema towards commercialised films and Hollywood-style narrative. The paper contextualises these dramatisations and their ideological features within the history of Tibetan representations in Chinese film and television dramas, and discusses foreign critiques of the most influential of the dramatisations of the Younghusband expedition, Feng Xiaonings 1997 film Honghegu (Red River Valley). It notes difficulties with criticisms about the lack of accuracy in these Chinese films, discusses several ways in which they match the historical record, and compares them with the little-known television series Jiangzi 1904.

In: Inner Asia
Author:

Abstract

The Secret History of the Potala Palace, a 1989 film about Mongol-Tibetan relations in the seventeenth century, was a milestone in the still tentative development of Tibetan film, with significant Tibetan participation and close attention to Tibetan sources of history. This paper suggests possible reasons for the withdrawal of the film from circulation, and proposes ways of reading film in the context of contested versions of ethnicity.

In: Inner Asia