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CHINESE CINEMA. & THE “5TH GENERATION”. THE 3 CHINESE CINEMAS. SILENT ERA Movies introduced to Mainland China, late 1890s American & European films, very popular “Interpreted” by a live Chinese narrator. THE 3 CHINESE CINEMAS. NATIVE PRODUCTION Production began in China about 1905

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  2. THE 3 CHINESE CINEMAS • SILENT ERA • Movies introduced to Mainland China, late 1890s • American & European films, very popular • “Interpreted” by a live Chinese narrator

  3. THE 3 CHINESE CINEMAS • NATIVE PRODUCTION • Production began in China about 1905 • 1908, 1st feature film, Tingchun Mountain • 1908, the 1st Chinese studio founded • Asia Motion Picture Company • Begun by American Benjamin Polaski & 2 Chinese businessmen

  4. THE 3 CHINESE CINEMAS • By 1910, thriving Chinese film industry • In 1917, rival company, Commercial Press • Foreign-owned company located in Shanghai • Sophisticated system of production & distribution • 1922, 1st wholly-owned Chinese film studio, Ming Hsing (or Min-Xin, “Star”)

  5. THE 3 CHINESE CINEMAS • THE SOUND/LANGUAGE PROBLEM • Different dialects spoken, resulted in regional cinemas • Most successful Cantonese, based in HK & Canton • Early sound films technically “primitive” • Concerned with: • Social issues (oppression of peasants & women) • Political issues (growing aggression of Japanese)

  6. THE 3 CHINESE CINEMAS • Japanese invasion (1937) forced production companies south • HK, Taiwan, Singapore & Malaysia • Some remained, collaborated with Japanese • 1945 production resumed, interrupted by civil war • Communists won, Chinese cinema split into 3 directions: • PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (PRC) • HONG KONG • TAIWAN

  7. THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLICOF CHINA • 1949-66: nationalization & collectivization • Ministry of Culture set up Film Administration Bureau with 2 divisions • Production & processing of prints • Distribution & exhibition • Chairman Mao created problems • Didn't especially support the industry • Often banned films he didn't like

  8. THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLICOF CHINA • Even so, 10 major studios established, 1 in each major city • Films produced before 1956 films of Socialist Realism • 1956-66 (“Hundred Flowers” campaign) control loosened, many films stylistically interesting & mildly critical of government • In 1964, over 480 feature films, 3000 newsreels, 200 cartoons

  9. THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLICOF CHINA • 1966 beginning of 10-year Cultural Revolution • Industry ceased operations, filmmakers sent for “re-education” • Production resumed in 1970 with untrained amateurs • In 1976, moderates gained power, industry liberalized • Ended in 1989 with Tiananmen Square massacre

  10. THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLICOF CHINA • 1966 beginning of 10-year Cultural Revolution • For 3 years, industry ceased operations, filmmakers sent to countryside for “re-education” • Production resumed in 1970 with untrained amateurs making overblown epics glorifying the Revolution • 1976, moderates gained power, film industry liberalized politically & financially (process known as “fang”)

  11. THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLICOF CHINA • Films affected by Cultural Revolution • Audiences tired of Socialist Realism • Many filmmakers had “bad attitudes” • 1980s, new relationship between studios & government • State no longer provided full funding • Studios forced to make their own money • New emphasis on the audience

  12. THE “5TH GENERATION” • State still operated censorship section of Film Bureau • Wanted movies to support “modernization politics” • Allowed relatively high degree of criticism

  13. THE “5TH GENERATION” • THE “WOUND” OR “SCAR” GENRE • Immediately after Cultural Revolution, based on works of “wound” or “scar” literature • About 2 types of problems: • Disruption of romantic relationships • Disappointment of those loyal to China & Revolution, unjustly persecuted

  14. THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLICOF CHINA • Flashbacks, voice-over narration, fairly low-key • Rejected styles & conventions of earlier Chinese films • No glamorization of peasant life • Differentiated between peasants & the govt. • More sympathetic portrayal of intellectuals • Genre had run its course by about 1983

  15. THE “5TH GENERATION” • 1984-85, group of filmmakers emerged to make optimistic films • Focus on individuals & problems, instead of characters as representative of social classes or ideological positions • Broke away from rigid studio system

  16. THE “5TH GENERATION” • In Yamaha Fishstall (1984), Chiang Liang used amateur actors & location shooting • In Juvenile Delinquents (1985), used inmates of “juvenile disciplinary centers” • Female director, Lu Xiaoya, who made Girl in Red (1985)

  17. THE “5TH GENERATION” • 5th Generation became known internationally with Yellow Earth (Chen Kaige, 1985)

  18. Yellow Earth (Chen Kaige, 1985)

  19. THE “5TH GENERATION” • The films of Zhang Yimou solidified the international reputation of the 5th Generation

  20. Raise the Red Lantern(Zhang Yimou,1992)

  21. Red Sorghum (Zhang Yimou,1987)

  22. Shanghai Triad(Zhang Yimou,1995)

  23. Hero (Zhang Yimou,2002)

  24. THE “5TH GENERATION” • Before Tiananmen Square, “6th Generation” emerged • Tian Zhuangzhuang, Wu Ziniu & • Influenced by Chinese culture, CHC, AC & 3rd World cinemas • Not as concerned with Communist Party or commercial success

  25. Horse Thief(Tian Zhuangzhuang,1986)

  26. The Blue Kite(Tian Zhuangzhuang,1993)

  27. National Anthem(Wu Ziniu,1999)

  28. The Hero Zheng Cheng Gong(Wu Ziniu,2001)

  29. The Hero Zheng Cheng Gong(Wu Ziniu,2001)

  30. Frozen(Xiaoshuai Wang,1996)

  31. So Close to Paradise(Xiaoshuai Wang,1998)

  32. Beijing Bicycle(Xiaoshuai Wang, 2001)

  33. THE “5TH GENERATION” • To a certain extent, characteristics of 5th Generation • Debate about how to categorize directors & their films • More similarities among these films than differences • “5th Generation style” emerging, embraces different talents with different influences • A Chinese “Cinema of Quality”?

  34. Father (Lou Jian, 2001)

  35. Purple Sunset (Feng Xiaoning, 2001)

  36. A Love of Blueness (Huo Jianqi, 2001)

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