Chapter

Chinese Cinema from 1989 to the Middle of the 1990s and Feng Xiaogang’s Early Career

Rui Zhang

in The Cinema of Feng Xiaogang

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9789622098855
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207523 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5790/hongkong/9789622098855.003.0003
Chinese Cinema from 1989 to the Middle of the 1990s and Feng Xiaogang’s Early Career

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This chapter discusses Chinese cinema from after the Tian'anmen Incident of 1989 until 1996, shortly before Feng began directing and creating New Year films. The period from 1989 to 1996 marked the unexpected rise of “main melody” films, a move by the Communist Party to tighten and control ideology in China after the political turmoil of 1989. Although this form of film fell into disfavor among the Party and film leaders, these entertainment films were revived to distract Chinese from the memory of the Tian'anmen Incident as new economic reforms were being forwarded by the Party. The reforms within China were also extended in the film industry, leading to the profit imperatives of film studious and reduction of subsidies from the government. As a result, private and semi-private companies were legitimized to attract investors and talent from outside the state-owned film sector. It was during this period that Feng Xioagang, a neophyte filmmaker, entered the film industry as a scriptwriter, later to become a director. Apart from discussing the changes in Chinese cinema, Chapter 3 also discusses the formative years of Feng's career, from 1991, when he directed his first film, up until 1996, when he directed three TV dramas and a film—an achievement that sparked the interest of the world. During this period, Feng was collaborating with Wang Shou and was heavily influenced by Shou's cynical writing style. In the chapter, a detailed analysis of Feng's directorial debut, Gone Forever with My Love, is provided that reveals Feng's style of incorporating hidden social commentary and attention to the relatively “small characters”—a style that have pervaded his subsequent works.

Keywords: Chinese cinema; 1989; 1996; Feng Xioagang; main melody; entertainment films; economic reforms

Chapter.  13065 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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