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postgraduate thesis: From stage to screen : the legacy of traditional Chinese theatre in the soundtracks of King Hu's films

TitleFrom stage to screen : the legacy of traditional Chinese theatre in the soundtracks of King Hu's films
Authors
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Wang, S. [王爽]. (2014). From stage to screen : the legacy of traditional Chinese theatre in the soundtracks of King Hu's films. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5699912
AbstractKing Hu’s films are regarded as drawing on the artistic conventions of traditional Chinese theatre. Their soundtracks were conceived as and, to this day, perform as the legitimate heirs to some of the aesthetic ideas and norms of Chinese traditional theatre, namely Peking Opera. In this dissertation, I survey a limited but historically meaningful repertoire of King Hu’s films. In the first chapter, I trace a trajectory leading to the development of Chinese martial arts cinema by reference to the influence that the theatre exerted on the cinema throughout its formative period. In Chapter 2, I look into performance conventions, with a special focus on sound, as the driving force behind the transformation that led from story telling to performance, and from martial arts literature to its theatrical and cinematic manifestations. Taking the 1970, omnibus film Four Moods (Xi Nu Ai Le / Joy, Anger, Sorrow, Happiness, 喜怒哀樂) as my case study, I examine the synchronization between luo gu dian zi (percussive pattern, 鑼鼓點子) and the martial arts moves, which bespeaks the symptomatic triangulation of film, theatre and literature. The film analyzed in Chapter 3, Raining in the Mountain (空山靈雨) (1979), exhibits far more than Hu’s debt to the theatre. Here, Hu investigates the body as a religiously, politically and socially meaningful entity, assisted by composer Wu Dajiang’s musical experiments. A Buddhist concept is found to be at the core and rhetoric in this work. A closer look at the sonic dimension of Hu’s films, then, forces one to redefine its thematics. The fourth chapter focuses on the study of Wu Dajiang’s manuscript copy of the score for Painted Skin (畫皮之陰陽法王) (1993), which is the only known existing music score of King Hu’s films. Based on an interview with Wu Dajiang’s assistant Lu Lianghui, this chapter elaborates their collaborations with King Hu, and explores Hu’s artistic criteria for film music, which embodies his stance as an authoritarian director. With a focus on the coordination of the musical cue with the visual and narrative domains, this chapter investigates the score as an element of the film, which reflects King Hu’s consistent effort to preserve the aesthetics of Chinese traditional theatre in filmmaking.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectMotion picture soundtracks - China
Dept/ProgramMusic
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/223059

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorWang, Shuang-
dc.contributor.author王爽-
dc.date.accessioned2016-02-17T23:14:42Z-
dc.date.available2016-02-17T23:14:42Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationWang, S. [王爽]. (2014). From stage to screen : the legacy of traditional Chinese theatre in the soundtracks of King Hu's films. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5699912-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/223059-
dc.description.abstractKing Hu’s films are regarded as drawing on the artistic conventions of traditional Chinese theatre. Their soundtracks were conceived as and, to this day, perform as the legitimate heirs to some of the aesthetic ideas and norms of Chinese traditional theatre, namely Peking Opera. In this dissertation, I survey a limited but historically meaningful repertoire of King Hu’s films. In the first chapter, I trace a trajectory leading to the development of Chinese martial arts cinema by reference to the influence that the theatre exerted on the cinema throughout its formative period. In Chapter 2, I look into performance conventions, with a special focus on sound, as the driving force behind the transformation that led from story telling to performance, and from martial arts literature to its theatrical and cinematic manifestations. Taking the 1970, omnibus film Four Moods (Xi Nu Ai Le / Joy, Anger, Sorrow, Happiness, 喜怒哀樂) as my case study, I examine the synchronization between luo gu dian zi (percussive pattern, 鑼鼓點子) and the martial arts moves, which bespeaks the symptomatic triangulation of film, theatre and literature. The film analyzed in Chapter 3, Raining in the Mountain (空山靈雨) (1979), exhibits far more than Hu’s debt to the theatre. Here, Hu investigates the body as a religiously, politically and socially meaningful entity, assisted by composer Wu Dajiang’s musical experiments. A Buddhist concept is found to be at the core and rhetoric in this work. A closer look at the sonic dimension of Hu’s films, then, forces one to redefine its thematics. The fourth chapter focuses on the study of Wu Dajiang’s manuscript copy of the score for Painted Skin (畫皮之陰陽法王) (1993), which is the only known existing music score of King Hu’s films. Based on an interview with Wu Dajiang’s assistant Lu Lianghui, this chapter elaborates their collaborations with King Hu, and explores Hu’s artistic criteria for film music, which embodies his stance as an authoritarian director. With a focus on the coordination of the musical cue with the visual and narrative domains, this chapter investigates the score as an element of the film, which reflects King Hu’s consistent effort to preserve the aesthetics of Chinese traditional theatre in filmmaking.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshMotion picture soundtracks - China-
dc.titleFrom stage to screen : the legacy of traditional Chinese theatre in the soundtracks of King Hu's films-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5699912-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineMusic-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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