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Children of Marx and Coca-ColaChinese Avant-garde Art and Independent Cinema$
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Xiaoping Lin

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833367

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833367.001.0001

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Jia Zhangke’s Cinematic Trilogy

Jia Zhangke’s Cinematic Trilogy

A Journey across the Ruins of Post-Mao China

(p.147) Chapter 7 Jia Zhangke’s Cinematic Trilogy
Children of Marx and Coca-Cola

Xiaoping Lin

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines Jia Zhangke’s “home” trilogy: Xiao Shan Going Home (1995), Xiao Wu (1997), and Platform (2000), which take a symbolic man’s journey across a ruined post-Mao China. The first shot of Xiao Shan Going Home is a wood block print that depicts a young man facing Mao’s portrait on Tiananmen, and in this print, the late chairman appears like a ghostly father figure to the bewildered youth. In an introductory sequence of Xiao Wu, however, the wandering protagonist’s theft on a bus is intercut with Mao’s portrait hanging at the driver’s seat. Here the irony is quite clear: without Mao’s guidance, the country has turned pathetically “lawless,” especially for the lost young generation that concerns the Sixth Generation directors. In a similar fashion, Platform begins with a stage performance titled A Train Traveling toward Shaoshan, meaning a pilgrimage to Mao’s birthplace.

Keywords:   Jia Zhangke, post-Mao China, Mao Zedong, Xiao Shan Going Home, Xiao Wu, Platform

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