Negotiating the meaning of filial piety in The Guasha Treatment | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2051-7084
  • E-ISSN: 2051-7092



In the field of contemporary Chinese cinema, the theme of filial piety has served as a key concept for a large number of Chinese-language films, covering various genres from melodrama to martial arts. Through a detailed narrative analysis of the cultural practices and identity politics in the filmic text, this article examines the way in which the traditional value of filial piety finds its powerful and subtle expression in Xiaolong Zheng’s lesser-known film The Guasha Treatment (2001), centring on Chinese family life in the United States. The theme of filial piety is particularly important for this film because it is situated at the centre of cross-cultural encounters and conflict. The film thus can be seen as an attempt to present how Chinese cultural beliefs, practices and products can generate problems when transplanted into an American setting. As such, it not only foregrounds the family and filial piety, but also addresses the issue of the western reception of Chinese culture and the experience of the Chinese diaspora.


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