Chinese Cinema

Yingjin Zhang

in Cinema and Media Studies

ISBN: 9780199791286
Published online October 2011 | | DOI:
Chinese Cinema

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Chinese cinema in this bibliography covers Chinese-language cinema, including films in Mandarin, Cantonese, and Taiwanese (or Minnan dialect) as well as Sinophone productions by the Chinese diasporas. To save space, hereafter “China” refers to mainland China, also known as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) since 1949. Chinese cinema has become an important player in world cinema since the 1980s for several reasons. First, three new-wave film movements emerged in three geopolitical territories during the 1980s: the Hong Kong New Wave, Taiwan New Cinema, and China’s Fifth Generation. Second, leading international film festivals have regularly awarded top prizes to Chinese cinema since the 1980s, and some Chinese films have entered art-house theaters in the West. Third, academic interests in Chinese studies and film studies have increased in recent decades as new theories and methodologies have gradually transformed disciplinary scholarship. Nonetheless, the development of Chinese cinema does not follow a straight line of progress; rather, it has seen ups and downs and unexpected turns. From the early 1990s to the late 1990s, a previously vibrant Taiwan film industry quickly disappeared in the face of Hollywood advancement. Also during the 1990s, Hong Kong cinema lost much of its market share in Taiwan, and its annual feature productions dropped from 242 in 1993 to 143 in 1994; the average number has stayed around fifty in 2006–2009. By contrast, feature productions in China increased from 88 per year in 2001 to 526 in 2010. What is most impressive is the growth of China’s exhibition market. Its annual total box office revenues skyrocketed from RMB 840 million in 2001 to RMB 10,200 million in 2010. Much of this growth has come from Chinese blockbuster films, almost always involving coproductions with Hong Kong. The spectacular growth of Chinese cinema explains recent attention to research in Industry and Market, but other exciting areas of Chinese film studies include film history (especially China before 1949), Gender and Sexuality, and Genre and Types. Martial arts films are considered a significant Chinese contribution to world cinema, and recent independent productions of Documentary films in China have received multidisciplinary attention. As scholars and filmmakers extend their vision beyond national borders, a new area has emerged in Diaspora, Sinophone, Transregional, which further complicates the question of Nation and Nationalism in Chinese cinema.

Article.  10301 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies ; Film ; Radio ; Television

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