The “Corporate Era” of Chinese Cinema in the New Millennium and Feng’s Post-New Year Production

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:
The “Corporate Era” of Chinese Cinema in the New Millennium and Feng’s Post-New Year Production

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This chapter discusses the transformations in Feng's filmmaking as he moved away from the mode of comedy and returned to his early style of “social conscience,” in which the victory of the “small character” is replaced by the failed attempts of the legally or morally guilty big personas to redeem themselves. With the ideological control of China beginning to loosen, Feng began to touch upon more sensitive subjects. Whereas his social commentary was hidden and covert in his comedy films, he began to render his social commentaries in a direct manner in his latter films. Feng's first three critical movies targeted the depravity of human beings, the irrational expansion of commercialization and consumerism, and the ethical issues brought about by technology. While he took advantage of the loosening control over film ideology, Feng found himself caught with the increasing demand of profit imperatives brought about by the industry reforms. This placed him in a new situation wherein while succeeding in reviving his “social conscience,” he had to deal with the dominant forces of commercialization. While Feng's films warned his audiences of the devastating effects of market development and commercialization, they became victims of the same forces whereby he was compelled to meet the expectations of the audiences for popular cinema and the profit imperatives of investors.

Keywords: filmmaking; transformations; social conscience; social commentary; film ideology; commercialization; popular cinema

Chapter.  22101 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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