Chinese Film Theory: A Guide to the New Era

Chinese Film Theory: A Guide to the New Era

Chinese Film Theory: A Guide to the New Era

Chinese Film Theory: A Guide to the New Era

Synopsis

This is the first collection of translations of Chinese film theory to be published in English. By using translations rather than summaries as other works have done, Chinese Film Theory provides readers with an introduction to the issues current in China's film circles. It includes 18 essays written by a broad range of writers--from well established scholars to young people at the beginnings of their involvement in film in China. This collection indicates a trend away from the study of external qualities of film and toward a study of the film itself.

Excerpt

China has one-fifth of the world's population; however, its cultural life is limited. Film, a product of modern Western science and technology, came to China while still in its infancy, took root, blossomed, and gave forth fruit in this ancient country. For a long time filmgoing was the major entertainment in China and the film audience numbered as many as 20 billion people annually. Even now, the Chinese film audience far surpasses that of any other country.

From its very beginnings, film revealed more of an international character than other art forms. However, in the past, film exchanges between China and the West went primarily in one direction. During different periods of time, Western films, especially those of France, Italy, Russia, and the United States, poured into China's film market. Similarly, the writings of Western film theoreticians such as Rudolf Arnheim, Sergei Eisenstein, Vsevolod I. Pudovkin, Bela Balasz, André Bazin, Seigfried Kracauer, Jean Mitry, and Christian Metz were introduced into China, while conversely, Chinese film and film theory until recently remained completely foreign to the West. At the onset of the 1980s, this one-way exchange began to change. Chinese film, heavily influenced by Eastern culture, has gradually awakened interest in the West, and a few Western scholars have written on the subject. Chinese film theory, however, has remained virgin territory. Chinese Film Theory: A Guide to the New Era, edited by George Semsel,Xia Hong, and Hou Jianping, is the first of its kind.

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