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Lu, Xiaoning (2020) 'In the Name of Internationalism: The Cinematic Memorialization of Norman Bethune in Socialist China.' In: Skrodzka, Aga, Lu, Xiaoning and Marciniak, Katarzyna, (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Communist Visual Cultures. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, pp. 341-363.

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The red martyr holds a special place in the collective memory of communist nations. In the Chinese pantheon of red martyrs, Norman Bethune, a renowned Canadian doctor who died during his selfless support of China’s anti-imperialist war against Japan, occupies a unique place. Bethune was sacralized as the ultimate symbol of internationalism by Mao Zedong in his essay “In Memory of Norman Bethune.” Much of the commemorative art about Bethune inevitably entails performing exegetic exercises of the Mao text. Using the 1962 compilation documentary In Memory of Norman Bethune and the 1964 biopic Doctor Bethune as examples, this article examines specific narrative strategies utilized in the cinematic memorialization of Bethune. It argues that despite their diverging styles and innovative engagements with the Mao text, both films perpetuate the political reification of the spirit of Bethune as proletarian internationalism incompatible with humanitarianism, while consolidating the political power of central authorities.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: Norman Bethune, red martyr, internationalism, humanism, Chinese Socialist Cinema, cinematic memorialization, Zhang Junxiang
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
P Language and Literature
ISBN: 9780190885533
Copyright Statement: This is the version of the chapter accepted for publication in The Oxford Handbook of Communist Visual Cultures published by Oxford University Press.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 May 2019 08:19
Related URLs: https://www.oxf ... 0190885533-e-13 (Publisher URL)

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