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The Romantic Comedies of Cathay/MP&GI in the 1950s and 60s: Language, Locality, and Urban Character

Authors Ng, Kenny K.K. View this author's profile
Issue Date 2007
Source Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media , v.49, 2007, Spring
Summary In The Greatest Wedding on Earth [Nanbei yijiaqin] (Wang Tianlin, 1962), a Cantonese-speaking young man is in love with a Mandarin-speaking woman. The comedy depicts the cultural conflicts between the Mandarin-speaking “Northerners” (Beifang ren) and the Cantonese-speaking “Southerners” (Nanfang ren), whose spoken languages and living habits are diametrically opposed. In postwar Hong Kong, the “Northerner” was a collective term referring to the mainland immigrants, with a majority of whom originating from Shanghai, whereas the “Southerner” meant the majoring of local residents in the South China and Guangdong regions. In the film, as the young lovers develop affections with each other, which cross ethnic and dialectal boundaries between their families, they find their romance in bitter conflict with their own fathers, who hold ingrained prejudices against each other’s dialects and cultures.
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Language English
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