The Red Sister-in-Law Remakes: Redefining the "Fish-and-Water Relationships for the Era of Reform and Opening
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Ode to Yimeng (Yingmeng Song), a major ballet production created in May 1974, was based on the novel of Red Sister-in-Law (Hongsao). It is one of Red Classics that deals with revolutionary “base area,” and in essence, about how Communist Party won the support of the subaltern, the backbone of the Chinese society at a tipping point of modern Chinese history, when CCP triumphed over the Nationalist army. The story of heroine, Sister-in-Law Ying, who saved a seriously wounded Communist soldier with her breast milk and nurtured him back to life, was once metaphoric and metonymic of the symbiotic relationships between army and the people. This paper argues that the post-Mao remake in the format of television drama has significantly re-defined the essence of the “fish-and-water” relationship in the spirit of traditional Chinese values and, in particular, Confucian values.