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Disney Mulan and Chinese Hua Mulan :a comparison study on Sino-western cultural diversity and similarity

English Abstract

Being one of the most extraordinary texts of literature, film mirrors its directors’ thinking habits as well as behavior norms and this helps engender the peculiarity and enchantment in each film. The comparison of films which are created by directors from different countries incarnates the communication and collision between differential culture backgrounds. This thesis makes a comparative analysis of two popular culture film texts: the animation film Mulan which is produced by Disney in 1998, and the bio-pic film Hua Mulan (2009) presented by Chinese Director Jingle Ma. Both films are based on the folklore about Hua Mulan, a legendary woman warrior from the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-589 AD) of China who was originally described in a ballad known as the Ballad of Mulan. Consideration of differential depictions that originate from the same source material is used to answer the key question: in their respective adaptations, how do American and Chinese directors deal with the legend? Serving as the primary analytical methodology, Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory offers a salient socio-cultural perspective on cross-cultural adaptation and differential. Most particularly this thesis takes up his insights on ‘Power Distance’ and ‘Individualism/Collectivism’ in cross-cultural analysis. Confucianism, especially Li (禮, proper rite) and Xiao (孝, filial piety), also key my analysis : it helps throw light on the cultural differential in the two adaptations. The analysis additionally entails close reading and analysis of contents, plots, themes, and characterizations as well as the social relations therein and thereof. In sum this thesis aims to understand the iv cultural orientations that drive the two afore-mentioned productions, and their semiotic implications.

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Xiao, Ling Yue


Faculty of Arts and Humanities




East and West

Comparative civilization

Animated films -- Comparative studies

English Studies -- Department of English


Tan, See Kam

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