The Gains and Losses of “Use Doctrine” in Literary Works

Forty years ago, an American drama series “The Man from the Atlantic Ocean” was broadcasted in China. One episode changed the tragedy ending of the original Verona folktale “Romeo and Juliet” to a happy comedy. I was still a student at the time who thought this artistic expression technique was very novel, but was told by a foreign teacher at the school that “this technique is very common in American film and television works.” Later, this kind of “usage doctrine” of plots and bridges of cultural works of other countries has been seen frequently in American cartoons such as the Mickey Mouse series and the Cat and Mouse series. In fact, this kind of reference to the works and cultural elements of other countries is a lot on the literary stage of various countries.

In Japan, there are an endless stream of works borrowing Chinese cultural elements, such as the anime “China Little Master”, “The Twelve Kingdoms”, “The Monkey King’s Adventure”, and “The World of Kings” which won the Tezuka Osamu Culture Award. The live-action film “Three Kingdoms New Explanation”, which was released in Japan on December 11, is a comedy based on the framework of “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms” and a Japanese “manga” style. The digitally restored version of the film “The Last Emperor” was released in Hong Kong theaters on the 17th. Although this co-production film that won a series of international awards more than 30 years ago tells a story about China, it is actually a “Chinese” by Italian director Bertolucci. Western food.” In addition, the Italian opera “Turandot” not only takes place in China, but also uses the melody of the popular Chinese folk song “Jasmine”. The “usage doctrine” on the literary stage is not only “export” without “import.” For example, the story of the Chinese Yue Opera repertoire “Chun Xiang Chuan” comes from the Korean peninsula, the Peking opera “Sakamoto Ryoma” with the background of the end of the Japanese shogunate and the Sichuan opera “Lenin in 1918” with the background of the Russian Revolution are still being talked about by many people. Many of the “usage-ism” literary and artistic works have achieved great success and international reputation: “Turandot” has become an opera classic and has been performing on the global stage without fail; many of Disney’s animations adapted from foreign works have been loved by audiences from all over the world , The country where the original work was born is no exception; the Yue opera “Chun Xiang Chuan” has been performed in two countries on the Korean peninsula, and aroused strong resonance; Japanese film and television and comic works adapted or re-created based on Chinese classics are also included in China and abroad. A good reputation has been formed among the audience and readers. There are also negative examples. Some Hollywood blockbusters with Chinese themes and backgrounds have been denounced by Chinese at home and abroad as “pseudo-Oriental cultural elements”. In fact, a good and successful “usage doctrine” must have two basic elements: familiarity with the essence of foreign elements, and grasp the tastes of domestic audiences. With a little attention, it is not difficult to see that all successful cross-cultural “usage” works have the above two elements. Many of the failed attempts at “usage” in Hollywood animation can also be attributed to this.

In the process of creation and launch, some “usage-oriented” works did not consider the “raw material producing country” market, just as most “American Chinese food” is not aimed at Chinese diners. For this kind of work, a good story, a good picture, and some exotic flavors are enough to attract foreign “diners” who have no knowledge of “the country where the raw materials are produced”. But in the era of globalization, the cultural stage is bigger and the audience is wider. Many creators and operators of “usage-oriented” literary and artistic works hope that “Chinese cuisine and western food” or “Western cuisine and Chinese food” can be both Chinese and Western. Earn eyeballs and box office from all parties. At this time, if you ignore or even despise the tastes of the “country where the raw materials are located” and the tastes of the audience, you can only ask yourself boring.

A literary and artistic work that has been circulated for a long time and is suitable both at home and abroad, often due to the constant re-creation of creators and interpreters, sparks new sparks, attracting the attention of audiences from both countries and even the world. The long-established Chinese folk song “Jasmine” has spread overseas. After Puccini and other generations of foreign artists have re-interpreted and interpreted it, more than half a century after “exporting”, one of the classic versions “What a Beautiful Jasmine” was again The Brigham Young University Art Troupe, who visited China in the early 1980s, brought it back to the Chinese stage and was accepted by Chinese singers, markets and audiences. Today, two similar and different versions of “Jasmine” have been reflected in each other on the Chinese and international stages, and they are enduring. Isn’t the success of “Jasmine Flower” a useful enlightenment to the attempts and participants of “usageism” in today’s cultural market?