This article examines the trope of amnesia—the crisis of memory—in two recent Chinese-language films dealing with traumatic memories of the Cultural Revolution and its aftermath: Zhang Yimou’s Coming Home
(Guilai, 2014) and Wang Xiaoshuai’s Red Amnesia
(Chuangru zhe, 2014). Cinematic representation of real and symbolic amnesia, I argue, can be an affective way to overcome historical amnesia, both institutionalized by the Party-state and privatized by individuals. By exploring the dynamics between forgetting and remembering at both collective and individual levels, we can reach a deeper understanding of the profound impact of the Cultural Revolution and its present-day repercussions.
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