Movie Talk: The rise of China Cinema
While China becomes increasingly well-known globally as one of the upcoming potential markets for business and commerce alongside India, it’s regrettable that its film industry did not receive the same amount of morale boost.
One of the primary reasons may be attributed to the fact that the arts are always sidelined by the sciences, since the focus of the current times are that of capitalism and economic progress, both of which rely on scientific achievements to oil their advancement.
However, much as the common man may choose to deny it, films are the heart and soul of life that reflects the current moods ofÂ the times. Hidden within the frames of celluloid lies the significance of the common man – his life, trials and tribulations, struggles and achievements. Within films lie the realisations of dreams – the hopes of Man.
Films are not to be regarded as a form of escapism but a channel where we develop our aspirations in thoughts and fulfill them through sheer will. Films inspire us to dream while the insights they inculcate in us drive us into action. This is the true essence of films, regardless of genres – although art house films do have a much larger influence in this aspect.
ChinaÂ cinema – like Asian cinema- Â is probably facingÂ a bleakÂ predicament as the world scrambles toÂ embraceÂ scientific monuments by stepping over the remnants of the art arena.
Nevertheless, there are many China directors who made their marks with films of significance, and Zhang Yimou remains as one of the more prominent ones. His films have often been said to carryÂ themes reflecting theÂ inner strength of the Chinese and to many, his often lavish use of colours in moviesÂ such as “Raise the Red Lantern” (1991), “Hero” (2002), “House of Flying Daggers” (2004)Â and “Curse of the Golden Flower” (2006) has nevertheless earned him an reputation as a director gifted with an excellent artistic control of both content and aesthetics feel of films.
Other upcoming directors include Feng Xiaogang whoÂ impresses us with “Aftershock” (2010)Â revolving aroundÂ a touching story, as well as Chen Kaige whoÂ combines two talents Leslie Cheung and Gong Li together inÂ the masterpiece “Farewell my Concubine (1993)”.
It’s also interestingÂ to note that there are some directors who started as actors, such as Jiang Wen who have acted in films that includesÂ “The Soong Sisters” (1997) and mroe recently, in “The Lost Bladesman” (2011)Â while still directing films at the same time (“Let the bullets fly” (2010), which have won rave reviews from audience worldwide, is directed by him).
When itÂ comes toÂ Asian Cinema,Â films from China seldom comes to mind. Instead, it’s films from Taiwan, Japan, Hong KongÂ and Korea that are prominent. This is not surprising, consideringÂ thatÂ films from these countries haveÂ built up an international appeal.
This does not imply thatÂ global audiences are not able to appreciate the beauty of China films but rather, the marketingÂ outreachÂ of China films can be furtherÂ enhancedÂ by increased promotion and publicity. That the film “Let the bullets fly” has received great reviews is a strong testamentÂ of the success of China films.
However, the inclusion of overseas talents inÂ the production should be worth a mention .Â Employing an international chinese cast in movies is not a new creation but such a practiceÂ usually brings result, and is a practical formula to ensure box office success.
Ultimately, weÂ have toÂ face the fact that economic profitability drives the direction of the film industry but there should Â lie – somewhereÂ along the veins of the film industry – the potential of it taking off along the less travelled paths of creativity, a path driven not so much by revenue but by ingenuity.