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Movie Review– The Soong Sisters (《宋家皇朝》)

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Presentation on theme: "Movie Review– The Soong Sisters (《宋家皇朝》)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Movie Review– The Soong Sisters (《宋家皇朝》)
HIS 3501D Tutorial 2 Movie Review– The Soong Sisters (《宋家皇朝》) Lam, Rosemary Lee Wei Ying Li Ka Yu Yu Pui Ki

2 Outline of the Presentation
Historical Background of the Republican Period and the Soong Family Reviews of the Movie Messages Put Forth Discussion

3 Historical Background of the Republican Period and the Soong Family

4 The history of the Republic of China
October 10, 1911 – Wuchang Uprising (武昌起義) Revolutionaries took control of Wuchang (the capital of the Hubei province) By the end of The Qing government was overthrown January 1, Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) was elected the first provisional president of the Republic of China July 1913 – The Second Revolution Suppressed by Yuan Shi-kai (袁世凱) Sun was forced to flee to Japan The Chinese Nationalist Party returned to power

5 The history of the Republic of China
The Constitutional Protection War The May Fourth Movement The Chinese Communist Party is founded Establishment of the Whampoa Military Academy Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) became the head of the academy March The death of Sun Yat-sen, Chiang climbed to power of the Nationalist Party Consolidation of power of China Nationalist Party had control of the whole China (Nanjing decade). 5

6 The history of the Republic of China
1937 – The Sino-Japanese War Japanese had steady territorial gain in China The two parties were fighting against each other (Controversy: temporary truce in the film) 1945 – Surrender of Japan – Civil War between two parties The Communist Party won the war The Nationalist Party fled to Taiwan

7 The background of the Soong Sisters
Born under the wealthy Soong family Their father (Charlie Soong) was an American-educated Methodist missionary and a businessman in banking and printing Were taught English since young age Were sent to America for study at about 14 years old All of them were Christians

8 Reviews of the Movie

9 About the Film and the Director
Shown in 1997 Based on the family history of the Soongs but revised some of the details Directed by a female director– Mabel Cheung (張婉婷) Famous for directing love stories and films The Soong Sisters was shown in a woman perspective Family value, Love story…

10 The Characters

11 Charlie Song (宋查理) Father of the sisters Educated abroad
Financially supported the revolutionary movements of Sun-Yat-sen but later turned against him because of the marriage between his daughter and Dr. Sun Appeared to be Western and open-minded but conservative and traditional in heart

12 Ai-ling Song (宋藹齡) The eldest sister Married a businessman, Kung H. H.
Paid attention to the reputation and the interest of the family Always wished to enlarge the power of the Song family in China

13 Ching-ling Song (宋慶齡) The second daughter of Charlie Song
A patriotic woman with enthusiasm on politics Married Sun Yat-sen despite the disapproval of her father A good wife as well as a helper of Dr. Sun in his revolutionary career Once a member of the National Party but dropped out because of her discontent on Chiang Kai-shek’s policies on Chinese Communist Party

14 Mei-ling Song (宋美齡) The youngest sister of the family
A Western-behaved and fashionable woman Married Chiang Kai-sek who was believed to be a future political star Became the helper of Chiang in his political stage

15 Plots of the Film A biographic review of the three Song sisters
Their characters were already shown and depicted in their childhood One loved money, one loved power, and one loved her country

16 They were taught by their parents in Western ways like learning English and Music
They were then sent to the United States to study

17 With the Republican period as background, the sisters had undergone a series of events.
The family underwent disunity as time went by because of different ideas and opinions

18 The story ends in that with the victory of the Liberation Army in the Chinese Civil War, the National Party under Chiang Kai-sek was retreated to Taiwan. Song Ai-ling and her husband moved to Hong Kong, a place where only money and economy were emphasized Song Mei-ling followed her husband to Taiwan Ching-ling was the only Song family member who could stay in the Mainland

19 Messages Put Forth

20 How family education and overseas education shaped the lives of the sisters
-Westernized behavior: eating habits (the stark difference between the sisters and Chiang Kia-sek) : fashion (when the adult Song Mei-ling first appeared) : the way they speak (spoke English amongst themselves and Song Mei-ling muttering, “Cut the bullshit.” under her breath) -Overseas education made them what they were. (Charlie Song blaming himself for sending the sisters overseas in the end)

21 New Women -Charlie Song called his daughters New Women of New China
-New Women image vividly portrayed using the women with bind feet chasing Song Qingling with feet that are not bind but was not successful. (as if to say foot binding (“Old Women”) is passé) -Joining revolution, being part of politics, be of great assistance to their husbands’ careers. -Choosing their own husbands especially in the case of Song Qingling

22 New China Times changed (no longer Qing dynasty, supposed to have broken free of the old and traditional society 封建社會)but people’s mindsets did not, lives of people did not improve as well :Kung H.H. cursing the time, commenting on how the instability is causing him to lose money) :Shouting Wan Sui(萬歲) for Sun Yatsen :Chiang Kai-sek saying, “Discipline, discipline, this is China.” :Charlie Song’s “Old China” mentality despite being advocator of New China

23 New Women in New China -Not fully liberated.
Charlie Song despite being ready to have a revolution for China, he was not ready to have a revolution within the family. (woman status remains low in the family) -No equality Chiang Kai-sek said, “If Song Ching-ling weren’t a woman, she would have taken over my position.” (leadership position reserved only for men?) -Constraints in women’s own mindset Song Qingling only wanted to be woman behind Sun Yatsen initially Song Qingling said, “In revolution, men dies but women get hurt the most.”

24 Discussion

25 Discussion Questions Do you think the Song Sisters represent New Women of New China? Does Charlie Song’s character represent “Old China” or “New China”? Why do you think the name of the movie in Chinese is called “The Imperial Dynasty of the Soongs”? Does it make sense with the story? “One loved money, one loved power, and one loved her country.” Is this an accurate description of the sisters? The movie was released in 1997, coinciding with the handover of Hong Kong back to the PRC. Does the film create a bias reflecting this transition? Why or why not?

26 Discussion Questions How strong are the sisters without the men in their lives? I.e. Are they strong women themselves, or are they just merely supporters of their husbands? What is the meaning of the song that the sister sing when they are young, which is repeated throughout the movie? How does Charlie Song’s own education affect his daughter’s education? Which daughter did he influence the most?

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