Projecting A Nation: Chinese National Cinema Before 1949

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While Cultural Revolution films used character, the younger directors favored psychological depth along the lines of European cinema. They adopted complex plots, ambiguous symbolism, and evocative imagery. These films came with a new style of shooting as well, directors utilized extensive color and long shots. As a result of the new films being so intricate, the films were for more educated audiences than anything. The new style was profitable for some and helped filmmakers to make strides in the business.

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A Century of Chinese Cinema: an introduction

It allowed directors to get away from reality and show their artistic sense. The Fourth Generation also returned to prominence. Given their label after the rise of the Fifth Generation, these were directors whose careers were stalled by the Cultural Revolution and who were professionally trained prior to Wu Tianming , in particular, made outstanding contributions by helping to finance major Fifth Generation directors under the auspices of the Xi'an Film Studio which he took over in , while continuing to make films like Old Well and The King of Masks The Fifth Generation movement ended in part after the Tiananmen Incident , although its major directors continued to produce notable works.

Several of its filmmakers went into self-imposed exile: Wu Tianming moved to the United States but later returned , Huang Jianxin left for Australia , while many others went into television-related works. They are often subsidized by the state and have free access to government and military personnel. The post era has seen what some observers [ who? The title and subjects of many of these films reflect the Sixth Generation's concerns. The Sixth Generation takes an interest in marginalized individuals and the less represented fringes of society. For example, Zhang Yuan 's hand-held Beijing Bastards focuses on youth punk subculture , featuring artists like Cui Jian , Dou Wei and He Yong frowned upon by many state authorities, [57] while Jia Zhangke's debut film Xiao Wu concerns a provincial pickpocket.

As the Sixth Generation gained international exposure, many subsequent movies were joint ventures and projects with international backers, but remained quite resolutely low-key and low budget. It featured no star of international renown and was acted mostly by non-professionals. Many Sixth Generation films have highlighted the negative attributes of China's entry into the modern capitalist market.

Project MUSE - Projecting A Nation

Li Yang 's Blind Shaft for example, is an account of two murderous con-men in the unregulated and notoriously dangerous mining industry of northern China. There is a growing number of independent post-Sixth Generation filmmakers making films with extremely low budgets and using digital equipment.

They are the so-called dGeneration for digital.

Ying Liang and Jian Yi are two of these dGeneration filmmakers. Liu Jiayin made two dGeneration feature films, Oxhide and Oxhide II , blurring the line between documentary and narrative film. Oxhide , made by Liu when she was a film student, frames herself and her parents in their claustrophobic Beijing apartment in a narrative praised by critics.

Two decades of reform and commercialization have brought dramatic social changes in mainland China, reflected not only in fiction film but in a growing documentary movement. Shot using a camcorder , the documentary ends with four of the artists moving abroad after the Tiananmen Protests.

Another internationally acclaimed documentary is Wang Bing 's nine-hour tale of deindustrialization Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks Wang's subsequent documentaries, He Fengming , Crude Oil , Man with no name , Three Sisters and Feng ai , cemented his reputation as a leading documentarist of the movement. Li Hong , the first woman in the NDM, in Out of Phoenix Bridge relates the story of four young women, who moving from rural areas to the big cities like millions of other men and women, have come to Beijing to make a living.

Current MA supervision

The New Documentary Movement in recent times has overlapped with the dGeneration filmmaking, with most documentaries being shot cheaply and independently in the digital format. All had made their impact in the international documentary scene and the use of digital format allows for works of vaster lengths. With China's liberalization in the late s and its opening up to foreign markets, commercial considerations have made its impact in posts filmmaking. Traditionally arthouse movies screened seldom make enough to break even.

The film, showcasing exotic landscapes, was well received by Chinese and some Western arthouse audiences, but did poorly at the box office. One was the romance film Romance on the Lu Mountain , which was a success with older Chinese. The film broke the Guinness Book of Records as the longest-running film on a first run.

Jet Li 's cinematic debut Shaolin Temple was an instant hit at home and abroad in Japan and the Southeast Asia , for example. Feng Xiaogang 's The Dream Factory was heralded as a turning point in Chinese movie industry, a hesui pian Chinese New Year -screened film which demonstrated the viability of the commercial model in China's socialist market society. Feng has become the most successful commercial director in the post era. Almost all his films made high returns domestically [71] while he used ethnic Chinese co-stars like Rosamund Kwan , Jacqueline Wu , Rene Liu and Shu Qi to boost his films' appeal.

In the decade following , owing to the influx of Hollywood films though the number screened each year is curtailed , Chinese domestic cinema faces mounting challenges. The industry is growing and domestic films are starting to achieve the box office impact of major Hollywood blockbusters. However, not all domestic films are successful financially.

Research supervision

As of November , 5 of the top 10 highest-grossing films in China are domestic productions. He Ping is a director of mostly Western -like films set in Chinese locale. His historical drama Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker won a myriad of prizes home and abroad. Recent cinema has seen Chinese cinematographers direct some acclaimed films.

Zhao , a black comedy film well received abroad. Gu Changwei 's minimalist epic Peacock , about a quiet, ordinary Chinese family with three very different siblings in the post- Cultural Revolution era, took home the Silver Bear prize for Berlin International Film Festival. There are actors who straddle the dual roles of acting and directing.

Xu Jinglei , a popular Chinese actress, has made six movies to date. Another popular actress and director is Zhao Wei , whose directorial debut So Young was a huge box office and critical success. The most highly regarded Chinese actor-director is undoubtedly Jiang Wen , who has directed several critically acclaimed movies while following on his acting career.


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By the early , Let the Bullets Fly had become the highest grossing domestic film in China's history. Since the late s and progressively in the s, Chinese films have enjoyed considerable box office success abroad. Formerly viewed only by cineastes, its global appeal mounted after the international box office and critical success of Ang Lee 's period martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which won Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in This multi-national production increased its appeal by featuring stars from all parts of the Chinese-speaking world.

It provided an introduction to Chinese cinema and especially the wuxia genre for many and increased the popularity of many earlier Chinese films. To date Crouching Tiger remains the most commercially successful foreign-language film in U. Similarly, in , Zhang Yimou's Hero was another international box office success. Despite criticisms by some that these two films pander somewhat to Western tastes, Hero was a phenomenal success in most of Asia and topped the U.

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The Hengdian World Studios can be seen as the "Chinese Hollywood", with a total area of up to ha. The successes of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero make it difficult to demarcate the boundary between "Mainland Chinese" cinema and a more international-based "Chinese-language cinema". This merging of people, resources and expertise from the three regions and the broader East Asia and the world, marks the movement of Chinese-language cinema into a domain of large scale international influence.

The ease with which ethnic Chinese actresses and actors straddle the mainland and Hong Kong has significantly increased the number of co-productions in Chinese-language cinema. Many of these films also feature South Korean or Japanese actors to appeal to their East Asian neighbours. In , Chinese cinema was the third largest film industry by number of feature films produced annually.

Average ticket price was down about 2. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. National film. Play media. China portal Film portal. Broadway Cinematheque. Retrieved January 4, EntGroup Inc. Retrieved October 15, Retrieved January 1, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved 27 July The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 21, Deadline Hollywood.

Retrieved November 15, However, the lithographer did not, or could not, re-create its realist style — the painting reproduced here was drawn in the Chinese lithographic style of the time, resulting in the reception space and pictorial space being rendered in the same way, further reinforcing the impression that the representation and its reception were within the same sense of reality. In fact, the caption not only describes the frozen moment of the pictorial representation but also provides some hint of narrative: The bombs hit some [of the soldiers] whose blood and flesh were all over the place.

50 Chinese Movies You Should Watch Before You Die - Video Essay

Some soldiers were shot and they lay ossified on the ground. The Youxibao writer wonders if he has actually entered the scenes he is seeing guanzhe zhici jiyi shenruqizhong , and the Shenbao writer exclaims that it was so heartrending for him to witness the brutality that he almost had to stop looking several times shangxin canmu jiburenguan. This overwhelming effect on the viewing subjects might explain why both writers highlighted the dark passages that came before as a rhetorical device that stressed the separation between spectacle and reality.

The writers' emphasis on the line between the two spaces is thus a self-protective mechanism. In both cases, while the spectacular dimension of the visual representation is highlighted, the authors emphasize their own movement into the spectacle. This creates two effects. First, the images are cut off from reality, as if the spectacular dimension had a minimal effect on the writers' actual lives.