Revisiting Film Melodrama brings forth pioneering French and English-speaking approaches from internationally known experts as well as by young researchers, aiming to broaden the research area through new historical and aesthetic perspectives. Indeed, film melodrama has too often been under-estimated, most surveys having essentially focused on the audience’s emotions and on excessive representations, often neglecting the complexities of the «melodramatic mode». More than ever, melodrama as film genre requires a comprehensive, multi-layered re-appraisal which includes references to the genre at work on television, animation and the internet.
Melodrama, Modernity and National Identity in the Films of Viet Linh (Carrie Tarr)
← 328 | 329 → Melodrama, Modernity and National Identity in the Films of Viet Linh
As an employee of the state-run Giai Phong (Liberation) Film Studio in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnamese filmmaker Viet Linh directed seven feature films between 1986 and 2003.1 Her work raises issues relating to the use of melodrama in relation to representations of the nation, in this instance, a nation – the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – which has been in a state of transition since the mid-1980s due to the collapse of the Marxist ideal. This chapter suggests that, although the films analysed here have been subject both to the censorship exercised by the Cinema Department of the Ministry of Culture and to considerable material and financial constraints, they plot a disconcertingly direct trajectory from distrust to an ambivalent acceptance of the post-Marxist modernisation of Vietnam. And, furthermore, that this shift in approach to the way the nation is imagined can be traced by focusing on the ways in which melodramatic effects are mobilised in the texts in question.
Viet Linh’s filmmaking career spans, and has been shaped by, the shifts in Vietnamese society brought about first by war, independence and reunification, then by Dôi mới (Renovation) and the transformation of a largely peasant society into an increasingly modern, market-oriented, globalized economy.2 Born in 1952, Viet Linh joined her ← 329 | 330 → screenwriter father in the South Vietnamese Liberation Army at the age of 16,...
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