documentary of this kind, interviewed his classmates who were aspiring painters, photographers, writers, and drama directors. Whereas government-sponsored 35 mm. 'documentaries'were unanimously propagandistic, depending on prearranged scenes and enactments, Wu's video used few mediating devices but let the viewers directly encounter his subjects. In another video documentary, made by a 'Structure, Wave, Youth Cinema Experimental Group' and entitled I Graduated! (Wo biye le!), about six or seven students talk to the camera about love, sex, career prospects, decisions to stay or leave the country, and the impact events in Tiananmen had had on their lives and outlooks. Made between 5 and 11 July 1992, the documentary began with hand-held shots and a voice-over which told the audience that the back-door entrance was the only one unchecked by the campus police of Beijing University. As well as the interviews conducted in the student dormitories, the film incorporated hidden camera shots of the campus police's intervention, departure scenes in the train station, and ended with a view of an empty Tiananmen Square at night accompanied by a sound-track that simulated the sound of gunshots and moving tanks. The video was personal and intense; the flexible documentary format set its makers free from indirect, allegorical ways of expression as often used in studio features.
No longer able to replicate the career paths of Fifth Generation directors in getting an early start through working in smaller studios, a number of 1989 graduates of the Beijing Film Academy began the difficult tasks of independent production. By producing commercials and music videos, the young film-makers saved enough to start production. With money borrowed from friends and technical help from fellow classmates and laboratories, these young film-makers made films with an average budget of under RMB 200,000 yuan (about US $2,000). Without a studio quota, their works remained 'underground' films that could not get distributed through official channels. Among the films completed this way in 1992 were Wang Xiaoshuai's Days of Winter and Spring (Dong chun de rizi), Wu Di 's Golden Shower (Huangjin yu), and Zhang Yuan's Mama. Zhang Yuan sought international attention by entering his black and white feature Mama in about twenty film festivals. With awards from Nantes, Edinburgh, and Berlin, as well as an MTV award from the United States for a video on popular singer Cui Jian, Zhang financed part of his 1993 feature Beijing Bastards (Beijing zazhong) with a grant from the French Film Development Foundation.
As the self-described 'Sixth Generation' film-makers were scrambling around to finance their projects, the established Fourth and Fifth Generation directors continued to earn international acclaim and win overseas investment. In 1993 Chinese films swept the board at the European film festivals: Xie Fei's Woman Sesame Oil Maker (or Xianghunnu, also known as Women in the Lake of Scented Souls) won the Golden Bear award at Berlin; Zhang Yimou's Story of Qiu Ju took the Golden Lion award at Venice, and Chen Kaige's Farewell my Concubine (Bawang bieji), financed by Taiwan money, was the first Chinese film to win the Palme d'Or at Cannes. However, these award-winning films seem tame when compared to the black and white independent works breaking through from the youthful underground video and film movement.
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After 1949, mainland Chinese cinema came under the control of the Communists and became a state-financed propaganda arm that produced only 'socialist realist' films targeted at the 'worker -- peasant -- soldier' audience. Across the Strait in Taiwan, where no film industry had existed before 1945, cinema toiled under the Nationalist government's rigid control. Post-1949Hong Kong cinema, however, became the most prolific and vigorous among the three Chinese communities. It initially adopted the classical tradition and many of the generic conventions of Shanghai cinema, and then gradually developed its own model in a relatively free business environment with few political taboos.
The history of Hong Kong cinema after the Second