PDA

View Full Version : Who are these custom-enforcing old men in Chinese film "Ju Dou"? (unboxed spoilers)


BrainGlutton
02-20-2006, 02:08 PM
In the 1990 Chines film Ju Dou -- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099902/ -- an old man takes a young wife, but she has a secret adulterous affair with his nephew and they have a child. When the old man finally dies, a group of old men have a meeting, deciding on the funeral arrangements, noting how many times the widow and nephew must try to stop the coffin and shout, "Don't leave us!" They also note that the nephew is "not really part of the family" and can no longer live in the widow's house after the old man is buried.

Who are these old men? Senior members of the dead man's family? Confucian scholars? Imperial officials? Or just elders of the village? In any case, why do they get to make decrees about the funeral and the widow's living arrangements?

This film was set in what appeared to be pre-Communist China, probably pre-Republican China. (Could have been during practically any dynasty, in fact -- there's nothing to give it historical context.) Would things be different today?

BrainGlutton
02-22-2006, 07:46 AM
Nobody knows?

Perhaps I should have posted this in GQ . . .

aruvqan
02-22-2006, 08:41 AM
Well, the clan/family structure was very strong in old China, and yes the family elders did decide a lot of things that normally would be free choice most other places. I would hazard a reasonable guess that they were the family elders.

garygnu
02-22-2006, 11:03 AM
Who are these old men? Senior members of the dead man's family? Confucian scholars? Imperial officials? Or just elders of the village? In any case, why do they get to make decrees about the funeral and the widow's living arrangements?

They're elders. Family elders? Village elders? Doesn't really matter, but I'd guess some were both. The answer as to why they get to decide these things is only partially Chinese culture. The whole film is an allegorical Communist China. These elders represent the government making decisions for people.
You could see this as "This sucks" or "This has been going on forever, what's the big deal now?".
This film was set in what appeared to be pre-Communist China, probably pre-Republican China. (Could have been during practically any dynasty, in fact -- there's nothing to give it historical context.) Would things be different today?
See above.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.