Posts Tagged ‘founding of a republic’

Hooray for Chollywood? Chinese Cinema Takes on the World

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Logo for

Last month, the Film Bureau of China launched, its first English-language website dedicated to promoting domestically produced films to a world audience. The portal offers news, celebrity photos and even informational pages on the major studios in mainland China. From initial appearances, the site has a ways to go: a number of links are broken, and among the top search terms “Confucious” is spelled incorrectly. The look and feel of the site somewhat resembles the pages of the news satire site The Onion when it was supposedly taken over by a Chinese conglomerate. But laugh at your own risk; this website is a shot across the bow of the status quo of global film distribution, the Chinese film industry’s way of saying to Hollywood “It’s on!”


Hail! Hail! Hail! The State of Chinese Cinema, Part One

Monday, March 8th, 2010

This is the first part of a three-part essay by Zhang Xianmin on the state of contemporary Chinese cinema. Parts two and three will be published later this week.

Translation by Yuqian Yan

Hail! Hail! Hail! The State of Chinese Cinema in 2009

I. Long Live the Motherland

The Founding of a Republic (dir. Han Sanping)

The Founding of the Republic reflects many demands of the film industry beyond film itself, and it has all but achieved these goals.

First of all, it reveals a reality that is shared by many other fields and industries. In the past several years, resources have been accumulated and controlled by several state-owned, monopolistic enterprises. This is a common phenomenon in the economy.

In the world of culture, different kinds of people collaborated on the one blockbuster film of 2009. For the 60th anniversary of the founding of People’s Republic of China, this blockbuster was eventually taken over from big-name directors by the presidents of state-owned enterprises. It’s almost like the chief director of China Central TV directing the Spring Festival Gala. The only distinction of this year is that in the past fifteen years, imported blockbusters were the nightmare of Chinese films every month; in the past five years, the domestic film market was dominated by three Chinese blockbusters every year. In 2007 and 2008, domestic blockbusters such as Lust, Caution, Assembly and Warlords all had difficulties in production or in passing the censors. Luckily, there is only one domestic blockbuster in 2009; others were small productions. Moreover, this film is very safe; the government wouldn’t give the film bureau officials any trouble.


The Selling of Culture in China

Friday, December 18th, 2009
Zhao Dayong

Zhao Dayong

How China is using art (and artists) to sell itself to the world” is an informative and insightful article in The Star by Murray Whyte. It analyzes China’s recent boom in cultural and media industries and its discontents – a burgeoning scene of individual expression. dGenerate directors Ou Ning and Zhao Dayong and producer David Bandurski are featured in the article as prominent representatives of the alternative art scene.

For Whyte, China’s recent supports and displays of cultural development reflect the government’s deep desire to raise “soft power”– “the ability of a political body to get what it wants through cultural or ideological attraction”–in order to match its huge economic development. The efforts include the plans for new museums and “creative districts” nationwide, proliferation of a glossy magazine industry that embraces Western excess, participation in global cultural events such as the Frankfurt Book Fair, the induction of formerly underground filmmakers back into state-run studios, and the production of big-budget political blockbusters such as The Founding of a Republic.


Two Approaches to the New-Generation Patriotic Cinema

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Among the festivities for the 60th Anniversary of the People’s Republic, the most talked-about and sought-after film is undoubtedly The Founding of a Republic (Jianguo Daye), which is also the centerpiece of the fifty movies announced by the government-sponsored China Film Group to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Revolution. Co-directed by Han Sanping, head of the China Film Group, and the Sixth Generation-turned-mainstream director Huang Jianxin, the film traces, or recreates, the history of how sixty years ago Chairman Mao’s revolutionary soldiers overcame Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Party Kuomintang in the civil war to establish the world’s most enduring Communist revolution.

This so-called “leitmotif commercial blockbuster” breaks the pattern of regular political films with its star-studded cast, featuring nearly 200 of China’s well-beloved film professionals, including action heroes Jackie Chan and Jet Li, international star Zhang Ziyi, comedy king Stephen Chow, and even directors Chen Kaige, Jiang Wen, and Feng Xiaogang. In an interview with South Capital Entertainment Weekly, director Han Sanping proudly calls this film an “ingenious cooperation of politics and commerce.” A report on reads “The elder generation watches history; the younger generation counts stars.”