The Life and Times of Lilian Lee: An Analysis of Lee's Screenplays From Psychological and Stylistic Perspectives

Weixiao Zhang


Lilian Lee, a novelist and screenwriter, is a prominent figure in the Hong Kong film industry and literary circles. Her unique writing style has earned her wide acclaim. Most of her works feature romances, fantasies or mysteries, showing her creative imagination. However, she didn't let love stories and supernatural elements overshadow the full picture she depicted. Instead, she further explored themes such as gender identity, sexual orientation and feminism, and dug deeper into a broad range of topics including mortality, fatality, history and patriotism. She revealed the complexity of human nature and the inner conflicts her characters underwent through incisive remarks and heart-rending stories. Her best-known works include Farewell My Concubine, Green Snake, Rouge and Kawashima Yoshiko, all of which are considered masterpieces, representing a milestone in the history of Asian cinema. Farewell My Concubine remains the only Chinese-language film to win both the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It was included in Time's list of "All-Time" 100 Movies in 2005. Rouge had 16 nominations and awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards and the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival. It also earned Lee the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Screenplay. The critical and commercial success of these films is largely attributed to Lee's screenwriting, and the success of her screenwriting rests on her relatively fixed writing mindset. This article focuses on screenplays written by Lilian Lee and analyzes her construction of plot, narrative techniques and her writing mindset and style, by exploring the influence of her personal experience, aesthetic preference, writing habits, and her cultural, social and educational background on her works.

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Asian Journal of Social Science Studies  ISSN 2424-8517 (Print)  ISSN 2424-9041 (Online)  

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