The Patriotism and the Heroism Embedded in the Subtitles of Chinese-English Movies: The Mission of “Main Melody” Films

Ying Xie


The dissemination of audiovisual products has played an indispensable role in shaping ideological propaganda and national influence in China. The “Main Melody” are the films that serve to propagandize the mainstream ideology of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). As a typical example of this genre, Wolf Warrior II (《战狼2》) (2017) has been the top-grossing film in the Chinese mainland since its release in July 2017. The science fiction film The Wandering Earth ( 《流浪地球》) (2019), with its subtle implication of “Main Melody”, quickly ranks as the third. Meanwhile, the action movie Operation Red Sea (《红海行动》) (2018), which advocates the element of “Main Melody”, has been ranked fifth in the Chinese mainland box office. In this paper, I will move beyond the conventional linguistic research in audiovisual translation to focus on the ideology revealed through the subtitles of this specific film genre. By considering the movies as multilingual texts targeted for both Chinese audiences and English-speaking audiences, I seek to explore the ideology reflected in the subtitles of the films by probing into several questions through the paper including: What stereotyped image does China still hold towards the West? What kind of image does the CCP and the Chinese government attempt to portray China as in the mind of Chinese audiences and English-speaking audiences?


Chinese Communist Party, Ideology, “Main Melody” Film, Patron, Subtitles

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