Instruction of this paper:

TOPIC: Melodrama vs. Wenyi film in Shaw Brother movies

Questions: What are some features of melodrama? What are some features of wenyi films?

How, when, and why have people (who?) treated “melodrama” and

“wenyi” as synonyms? If we assume that melodrama and wenyi are the

same, how might that lead us to misinterpret a particular film?

(You don’t have to answer all the question in your essay but just a hint for you to write a paper)

Keywords: genre; melodrama; wenyi or wenyipian 文藝片; cluster concept; cross-cultural




  1. Wong Ain-ling, “The Black-and-White Wenyi Films of Shaws”, in Fu ed., China


  1. * Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh, “Pitfalls of cross-cultural analysis: Chinese wenyi film

and melodrama”, Asian Journal of Communication 19.4 (December 2009):


  1. * (optional) Linda Williams, “Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess”, Film

Quarterly 44.4 (Summer 1991): 2-13

  1. Films: Love Without End《不了情》(Doe Chin [Tao Qin], 1961, 117 min.)

5.(optional) Love Without End《不了情》(Sang Hu, China 1947, 94 min.), online

at (no subtitles)

Your paper topic must be based on something on the readings and movie. It must also be something important and interesting enough for you to write a paper about (and for someone to read a paper about). For example: what are the strengths and weaknesses of the argument in one or two of the readings, and can you think of some counterexamples or counterarguments? Or: how do one or two of the films illustrate some conceptual, theoretical, historical, or methodological issue that we discussed in class? Or: how do the readings, films, and issues from one week help us to better understand the materials from a different week? Or: do the optional materials confirm or refute something in the required materials?

The smaller and more precise your starting point is, the more solid your paper will be. For example: do not make huge and overgeneralized claims about “Chinese culture” or “Hong Kong identity”.

Your paper must have a main idea, i.e., a thesis or hypothesis to test and prove. The primary goal is to convince the reader of something that is not obvious or self-evident, i.e., something that someone might misunderstand or disagree with. The secondary goal is to demonstrate mastery of the course materials, i.e., show that you learned something in this course. (In other words, do not write a paper that you could have written without taking this course.) You can imagine that your reader is intelligent and generally knowledgeable but does not understand the materials and issues as well as you do.


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