National Movie Depictions of Boys Clothes: China Films

Figure 1.--This French film about mischeveous Paris children and their shifts to China where they make friends. HBC does not how acurately Chinese fashions are depicted.

HBC has no information on Chinese movies yet. We do note that since the Revolution (1949) that the industry has been strongly supported and controlled by the Communist Government. No country of course has a larger domestic market than China. We have, however, little information on specific Chinese made by the Chinese themselves. One French film noted by HBC sets part of the film in China. This provides some insights into the clothes worn by Chinese boys and their Young Pioneer uniforms. There is also the American-Italian made film, The Last Emperor (1987). Most Chinese films, especially those made before the 1980s, are virtually unknown to Western audiences. We hope that Chinese readers will provide us sime suggestins aboy films that we shoud add to this page.

Clothing Styles

Individual Films

Cerf Volante du Bout du Monde (France/China, 1958)

This interesting little French film begins in a run-down suburb of Paris. It's about a group of bored children making mischief to fill the days (eg sticking a cat up a tree and then calling the fire brigade so they can watch them get it down!) The first part of the film deals with their adventures in Paris. One of them has a Chinese kite, with a message on a piece of paper in Chinese on it. His mates try to grab it to sell to an antique shop. One night, one of the boys and his sister are visited by a mysterious Chinaman and are promptly floated off on their bed to China in their pyjamas. The Chinaman clicks his fingers and they appear once again in their everyday clothes, and have all sorts of adventures in China.

(The) Last Emperor (U.S./Italy, 1987)

The life of Puyi, the Last Emperor of China, was beautifully told in Bernardo Bertolucci's 1987 film, "The Last Emperor". Parts of the film were actually shot in the Forbidden City. "The Last Emperor" is an epic film, surveying China's tumultous 20th century history through the life of one man--Puyi. China's transition from feudalism to revolution is beautifully told with considerable historical accuracy. It is an unusual epic film, because such films are usually about larger than life figures who shaped history. "The Last Emperor" is, however, about a very passive figure who was never able to control even his own life. Scenes of his his childhood in splrendid isolation within the Forbidden City are intercut with scenes from his Communist reeducation. The movie won several Oscars, imcluding Best Picture, Best Director, Best Editing and six other categories. Peter O'Toole played Puyi's Scottish tutor.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: August 24, 2000
Last updated: December 5, 2002