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Movie Talk: The rise of China Cinema3 min read

30 August 2011 4 min read


Movie Talk: The rise of China Cinema3 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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 of 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.

China cinema – like Asian cinema-  is probably facing a bleak predicament as the world scrambles to embrace 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 carry themes reflecting the inner strength of the Chinese and to many, his often lavish use of colours in movies such as “Raise the Red Lantern” (1991), “Hero” (2002), “House of Flying Daggers” (2004) 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 who impresses us with “Aftershock” (2010) revolving around a touching story, as well as Chen Kaige who combines two talents Leslie Cheung and Gong Li together in the masterpiece “Farewell my Concubine (1993)”.

It’s also interesting to note that there are some directors who started as actors, such as Jiang Wen who have acted in films that includes “The Soong Sisters” (1997) and mroe recently, in “The Lost Bladesman” (2011) 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 it comes to Asian Cinema, films from China seldom comes to mind. Instead, it’s films from Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong and Korea that are prominent. This is not surprising, considering that films from these countries have built up an international appeal.

This does not imply that global audiences are not able to appreciate the beauty of China films but rather, the marketing outreach of China films can be further enhanced by increased promotion and publicity. That the film “Let the bullets fly” has received great reviews is a strong testament of the success of China films.

However, the inclusion of overseas talents in the production should be worth a mention . Employing an international chinese cast in movies is not a new creation but such a practice usually brings result, and is a practical formula to ensure box office success.

Ultimately, we have to face the fact that economic profitability drives the direction of the film industry but there should  lie – somewhere 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.

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