Encyclopedia of Chinese Film

Encyclopedia of Chinese Film

Encyclopedia of Chinese Film

Encyclopedia of Chinese Film


This alphabetically organized volume is the first authoritative, scholarly source on directors, genres, themes, and actors from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Including synopses of 300 Chinese films, the entries are heavily cross-referenced, and offer, where possible, annotated suggestions for further reading. Preceding the A-Z entries, an in-depth cultural perspective is provided in a substantial historical section dealing with the main studios and the impact of Chinese film abroad and at home in recent years.


Transnational cinema: mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan
Yingjin Zhang

Transnational Chinese cinema is a critical term formulated in the early 1990s to account for the transnational capital flow in the making of many new Chinese films and to capture the changing nature of cultural, regional and geopolitical differences in Chinese filmmaking. One thing is evident from the three historical accounts of Chinese cinemas in the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan in the preceding pages: there is a long tradition of communication and cooperation between China and Hong Kong, between Hong Kong and Taiwan, and between Taiwan and the mainland.

In the 1920s–30s, close ties and friendly cooperation between Hong Kong and Shanghai film studios, especially Minxin, Lianhua, Mingxing and Tianyi, helped filmmakers in both places to bring their feature productions to the first golden age in Chinese film history. the flow of Hong Kong capital to Shanghai in the 1920s and the flow of Shanghai money and talents to Hong Kong during the war benefited the two cities. in terms of genre films, the long-standing Shanghai influences were visible in Hong Kong productions of not only the martial arts film but also a type of historical film that features costume drama. the second flow of Shanghai film people to Hong Kong in the late 1940s and the early 1950s brought in the melodrama that addresses a wide variety of family and social problems. Zhu Shilin's film realism of the 1950s–60s, as embodied in New Widow (1956) and Between Tears and Smiles (1964), represents an uninterrupted continuation of the Shanghai realist tradition of the 1940s, in films like Eight Thousand Li of Cloud and Moon (dir. Shi Dongshan) and Spring River Flows East (dir. Cai Chusheng, Zheng Junli, both 1947). in Taiwan, when government studios resumed feature productions in the 1950s–60s, they relied on veteran directors, like Yuan Congmei (b. 1916) and Zhang Ying (b. 1919) who made their début in Chongqing in the 1940s, and thus ensured a continuity in the kmt propaganda tradition. the humanist concerns in non-partisan Shanghai studios like Wenhua, which produced Spring in a Small Town (dir. Fei Mu, 1948) and Sorrows and Joys of a Middle-Aged Man (dir. Sang Hu, 1949), were carried on in film romances in Taiwan, especially those based on Chiung Yao's novels. Interestingly, after sweeping across the Taiwan and Hong Kong markets in the 1960s–70s, Chiung Yao films (and several tv series) were produced in the mainland in the 1980s, and some of them, like Wanjun and The Silent Wife (both 1987), are actually remakes of the same Taiwan titles (1964 and 1965, respectively).

On the other side, the influences of Hong Kong films in Taiwan are so strong that Hong Kong titles (classified as 'domestic' in Taiwan) have dominated the Taiwan market for decades. the names of two famous Hong Kong directors, King Hu and Li Han-hsiang, are associated with two dominant genres in Taiwan, the kungfu or swordplay film and costume drama . . .

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