Chunyu Liu

Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Comparative Literature

First Advisor

Krista Van Fleit


This dissertation examines the social critiques in Chinese campus films by viewing their development and cultural context. Social Criticism, a prominent trend in Chinese cinema, addresses a wide range of widely concerned social issues, including education, romance, marriage, politics, environmental concerns, psychological repressions, etc. It appears that a Chinese mainland woman filmmaker and a Hong Kong professional director echo each other on the same theme. They are inspired by similar genuine events and share many similarities in the way they orchestrate the relationships and backgrounds of the characters. However, the two films retain their different characteristics. This thesis will discuss campus bully as a widely occurring social and educational concern, focusing on the portrayal in two films (Cry Me a Sad River and Better Days) across the sides of mainland China and Hong Kong and detecting the observations and social and political factors behind it. It also explores the differentiated handling of bullying representations and their functions in articulating the directors’ thinking and criticism.


© 2023, Chunyu Liu