Chinese National Cinema

Chinese National Cinema

Chinese National Cinema

Chinese National Cinema

Synopsis

What does it mean to be 'Chinese'? This controversial question has sparked off a never-ending process of image-making in Chinese-speaking communities throughout the twentieth century. This introduction to Chinese national cinema covers three 'Chinas': mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Historical and comparative perspectives bring out the parallel developments in these three Chinas, while critical analysis explores thematic and stylistic changes over time.As well as exploring artistic achievements and ideological debates, Yingjin Zhang examines how - despite the pressures placed on the industry from state control and rigid censorship - Chinese national cinema remains incapable of projecting a single unified picture, but rather portrays many different Chinas.

Excerpt

At the start of the new millennium, the publication of another volume on national cinema may seem ironic for several reasons. First, in the age of globalization, operations of multinational corporations have increasingly criss-crossed and sometimes entirely obscured or bypassed national borders, while local, regional and transnational forces continue to undermine the legitimacy of any nation-state (Miyoshi 1993). Second, in response to the sweeping power of the 'global popular' (During 1997), media and cultural studies have looked to post-coloniality, postmodernity and transnationality for new conceptual frameworks, and any focus on a single national cinema appears rather narrow or even dated. Third, in the wake of new technological development, cinema itself is said to have entered its 'late' stage, and the current academic interest in early cinema and late cinema thus place in an unfavorable light a project that considers the entire history of a national cinema.

Admittedly, in regard to China, the national cinema paradigm seems utterly inadequate. China today consists of three territories: (1) The People's Republic of China (PRC) ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the mainland; (2) Hong Kong, formerly a British colony but since July 1997 a special administrative region of the PRC; (3) The Republic of China (ROC) controlled for decades by the Nationalists (KMT) but since 2000 ruled by the independence-minded Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan. The history of these territories further complicates the 'national' situation. The identification of mainland China as 'Communist' can only date back to 1949, the end of the KMT rule there. Similarly, the KMT control of Taiwan started only in 1945, at the end of half a century of Japanese occupation of the island (also known as 'Formosa', a term originated by Portuguese seafarers). For some, the history of the separation of film industries in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan 'has formed quite distinctive national cinemas within each territory' (Yeh 1998:74). Such territorial concerns have occasioned a similar designation of national cinema status for Hong Kong and Taiwan. As Stephen Crofts notes, 'In Hong Kong, the national cinema outsells Hollywood by a factor of four to one' (1993:55-6); Douglas Kellner

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.