Media

04.30.14

Five Lessons From the Axing of ‘The Big Bang Theory’

It’s a plot twist few saw coming. Not long ago, China’s video streaming sites were trying to clean up years of copyright violations by paying big bucks to license popular U.S. television shows. For their part, Chinese fans had begun to abandon the...

Media

04.15.14

Captain America Conquers China

SHANGHAI—This week, while U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s trip to China was underscoring bilateral tensions between the two powers, the Chinese masses were busy embracing another U.S. visitor. The Marvel superhero sequel Captain America: The...

Viewpoint

02.27.14

Why Frank Underwood is Great for China’s Soft Power

Ying Zhu
In depicting U.S. politics as just as vicious, if not more, sociopathic than its Chinese counterpart, House of Cards delivered a sweet Valentine’s Day gift to the Chinese government. The show handed the Chinese state an instant victory when the...

Media

02.19.14

Chinese Netizens (Still) Love ‘House of Cards’

“Everyone in China who works on this level pays who they need to pay.” Mild spoiler alert: These are the words of the fictitious Xander Feng, an influential Chinese billionaire on the Netflix series "House of Cards," a show that follows...

Sinica Podcast

02.14.14

Dissecting the 2014 Spring Festival Gala

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
A casual survey suggests that ninety-eight percent of Sinica listeners have at some point joined Chinese friends or family in watching the annual television spectacular known as the “Spring Festival Gala.” Sadly, whether from excessive pork...

New Regulations for Online Video Sharing

Anne Henochowicz
China Digital Times
China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television issued a notice including rules such as real name registration for all users uploading to video sharing sites. ...

China’s Richest Man Eyes Hollywood, Backs Animated Pic ‘Kong’

Pamela McClintock and Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
Robin Li -- chairman of Chinese search engine Baidu and president of the Chinese Cultural Chamber of Commerce of the Private Sector  -- is backing a new film production venture that intends to release as its first project a Hollywood 3D...

China’s Television War on Japan

Murong Xuecun
New York Times
The state prohibits content that “incites ethnic hatred,” yet according to Southern Weekly more than 70 anti-Japanese TV series were screened in China in 2012. The result of this stream of rancor is just what you’d expect. &...

Media

01.03.14

Coming to Chinese Headlines in 2014

Chinese people have spent another year breathing dirty air, fretting about food safety, poking fun at corrupt officials, and complaining about tightening censorship—but as a discerning consumer of international news, you probably knew that already...

Sinica Podcast

12.27.13

Sinica Goes to the Movies

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
As much as expats in China like to complain about the state of Chinese film and television, this week Kaiser and Jeremy remind us that there is a lot of great art out there, too, in a show that asks the critical question of: what is worth our...

Media

11.27.13

China’s Favorite Villainess

Many U.S. viewers identify with serial killer Morgan Dexter of Dexter, inveterate womanizer Don Draper of Mad Men, or family man turned meth kingpin Walter White of Breaking Bad—however morally bankrupt they may be. Now, China has its own anti-hero...

Media

11.05.13

China and Hollywood by the Numbers

Jonathan Landreth
Consider this: Hollywood studios now make more money selling movie tickets in China than in any other market outside North America. Wanda, China’s largest real estate developer, bought AMC, the second-largest movie theater chain in the United States...

Video

11.05.13

Small Part, Big Screen

Gilles Sabrié
Every morning outside the imposing gate of the Beijing Film Studio, a throng gathers to try to find a way inside. These aren’t fans, exactly. Look at their faces, the practiced way they crane their necks or square their shoulders when the man with...

Media

11.01.13

Apologies for a Horrific Past

On October 9, a farmer named Zhang Jinying appeared on the television show Please Forgive Me, a program usually dedicated to public apologies by unfaithful husbands and wayward sons. But the sixty-one-year-old Zhang’s apology had a depth and a...

Media

10.29.13

Why “2 Broke Girls” Is All the Rage in China

In China’s battle between cupcakes and Communists, the cupcakes appear to be winning. While Chinese President Xi Jinping promotes the “Chinese Dream” of national rejuvenation with mixed success, the U.S. sitcom 2 Broke Girls has drawn Chinese...

Unhinged in China

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
In one of the central scenes in Jia Zhangke’s new film, a young man working in the southern Chinese manufacturing city of Dongguan goes to an ATM and finds that he’s broke. He’s just spent the past month betraying his friends and hopping from job to...

Chinese Regulators Restrict Imports of T.V. Formats

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
The new order is aimed at pushing domestically produced and “morality-building programs,” in line with the recent campaign to decrease vulgarity on Chinese T.V. The vacated slots will have to be filled with news, education programs and...

Media

10.18.13

Cross-Culture Fail Watch: “Blacklist” Bungles One-Child Policy

Chinese Internet users have a message for the screenwriters of The Blacklist: You’ve got a lot to learn about our country.The third episode of The Blacklist, a new NBC television drama in which the FBI and a former fugitive team up to fight...

Media

10.02.13

ChinaFile Presents: Jia Zhangke on “A Touch of Sin”

On September 30 at Asia Society in New York City, film director and screenwriter Jia Zhangke and his wife, muse, and frequent leading lady on screen, actress Zhao Tao, joined Asia Society’s Film Curator La Frances Hui and journalist Emily Parker to...

Media

09.30.13

China Watches “Breaking Bad”

Why do millions of Chinese care about a fictitious New Mexico meth cook? The soon-to-be-concluded television drama series Breaking Bad, which depicts embattled high school chemistry teacher Walter White’s transformation into a crystal...

Conversation

09.24.13

A Shark Called Wanda—Will Hollywood Swallow the Chinese Dream Whole?

Stanley Rosen, Jonathan Landreth & more
Stanley Rosen:Wang Jianlin, who personally doesn’t know much about film, made a splash when he purchased America’s No. 2 movie theater chain AMC at a price many thought far too high for what he was getting.  A number of knowledgeable people...

China Relaxes Some Film Censorship Requirements

Hollywood Reporter
The media regulator will now only require film summaries to be submitted for censorship approval before production, rather than full scripts, for select film categories.     

Media

07.15.13

A Rite of Passage to Nowhere

Ying Zhu & Frances Hisgen
Tiny Times, a Chinese feature film set in contemporary Shanghai, made headline news on its opening day in late June by knocking the Hollywood blockbuster Man of Steel from its perch atop the domestic box-office and breaking the opening-day record...

Media

06.27.13

Jackie Chan—The Young Master Comes of Age

Jaime Wolf
Once in a while, if you’re lucky, and paying the right kind of attention, events align to give you a clear view of the future. In 1995, I was in Los Angeles staying with a friend who produced independent films and had the trade magazines Variety and...

Media

06.12.13

In Box Office Hit, American Dream Is Still Alive—In a Maturing China

Over the last two weeks, the movie American Dreams in China (中国合伙人) has been the number one box office hit in China, selling over 400 million tickets to date. The movie is a gritty and at times tongue-in-cheek comedy that tells the true story of...

Media

05.09.13

Truth in Chinese Cinema?

Jonathan Landreth
In 1997, as James Cameron’s Titanic sank box office records around the world—including in China—Sally Berger, assistant film curator at the Museum of Modern Art, worked to bring New York moviegoers a raft of Chinese movies they’d never heard of.The...

Playing Margaret Thatcher In China

Melissa Rayworth
Salon
Melissa Rayworth on her  chance to show a small cross-section of China that Margaret Thatcher was not a cartoon. She was a real, three-dimensional person.  

Conversation

04.11.13

Why Is Chinese Soft Power Such a Hard Sell?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Donald Clarke & more
Jeremy Goldkorn:Chairman Mao Zedong said that power comes out of the barrel of a gun, and he knew a thing or two about power, both hard and soft. If you have enough guns, you have respect. Money is the same: if you have enough cash, you can buy guns...

Caixin Media

02.04.13

Lights, Camera, Pending IPOs for Filmmakers

The cameras could be rolling soon for long-anticipated stock listings by the nation’s largest movie producer and foreign flick importer China Film Group, as well as a smaller but ambitious rival, Shanghai Film Group.The state-owned companies’ names...

Media

01.25.13

Former China State TV Director Bemoans Anti-Japanese Propaganda: “Where’s the Creativity?”

Are Chinese audiences growing weary of anti-Japanese propaganda? It would seem that some, at least, are growing sick of the pathetic villains, superhuman heroes, and lame endings that many Chinese movies and television series about World War II, or...

Culture

01.17.13

An Alternative Top Ten

Shelly Kraicer
Most accounts of the last year in Chinese cinema are dominated by films that were made for the ever-expanding domestic box office, and the local film industry’s struggle for screen time in competition with Hollywood imports. On the one hand, we...

China Firm Buys Naming Rights to Landmark Hollywood Theater

Richard Verrier
Los Angeles Times
Chinese TV maker TCL paid $5 million to rename Grauman's Chinese Theatre...

Media

12.04.12

“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” Hits the Road

Jonathan Landreth
Debut filmmaker Alison Klayman has been on a global tour with her documentary—Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry—a film about one of China’s most provocative artists and activists, which this week, was named one of fifteen films put on a short list to be...

China, at Party Congress, Touts its Cultural Advances

Ian Johnson
New York Times
Party guidance is the "soul” of China's moves to privitize and promote industries that can spread soft power abroad. ...

Media

11.02.12

Chinese Movie Mogul Promises New Party Leaders Will Open Market to Hollywood

Jonathan Landreth
A wise old cartoon turtle in Kung Fu Panda advises Po, the portly black and white star of the 2004 DreamWorks Animation blockbuster film, not to fret about honing his fighting skills, but rather to focus on the moment and do his...

Caixin Media

09.20.12

Hit TV Show Sings Song of Media Model Success

A reality-talent TV songfest popular in more than forty countries around the world has become an instant hit in China, underpinning enthusiasm for an experimental business model linked to media sector reform.The Voice of China’s debut show in July...

Media

05.24.12

TV Show Catches Flak for its Criticism of Contestants Who Have Lived Abroad

Bo Wang
The gameshow Fei Ni Mo Shu (Only You) has a pretty straightforward premise: a contestant steps onto a stage next to the host and introduces him/herself to a panel of twelve bosses of major companies who sit in highly extravagant throne-like chairs...

Media

05.18.12

Hong Kong Movie Star Now a Motivational Speaker

Bo Wang
Nicholas Tse—the famous young Hong Kong singer, actor, and musician—is known for portraying irresponsible young rebels. People think that's what he's like in real life. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology invited Tse to be a...

Caixin Media

05.02.12

Garish Flowers of War

The Flowers of War begins December 13, 1937, with young convent girls fleeing for their lives through a besieged Nanjing shrouded in mist. The first words heard are those of the lead girl Shujuan: “Everybody was running that day but no one could...

Culture

05.01.12

China Through An Independent Lens

La Frances Hui
Chinese documentaries have gained global attention in the past decade or so, thanks partly to the creative originality of young filmmakers and partly to a rapidly changing China that fascinates viewers from around the world. Wang Bing’s nine-hour...

China’s Death-Row Reality Show

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
Until it was taken off the air last December, one of the most popular television programs in China’s Henan province, which has a population of 100 million, was “Interviews Before Execution.” The presenter was Ding Yu, a pretty young woman, always...

Media

12.15.11

Anxiety’s Remote Control

Hu Yong
The Chinese government agency that English speakers know as SARFT has several monikers. Its full name is the State Administration for Radio, Film, and Television. Literally translated, its Chinese name, guangdian zongju, is more...

Sinica Podcast

08.27.11

Zhao Liang and the South-North Water Diversion Project

Kaiser Kuo, Edward Wong & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica: China makes an about-face on Libya, we discuss a recent controversy in Beijing’s arts community over independent filmmaker Zhao Liang, and get an on-the-ground update on the state of China’s South-North Water Diversion Project,...

Books

03.15.10

Art, Politics and Commerce in Chinese Cinema

Stanley Rosen
Art, politics, and commerce are intertwined everywhere, but in China the interplay is explicit, intimate, and elemental, and nowhere more so than in the film industry. Understanding this interplay in the era of market reform and globalization is essential to understanding mainland Chinese cinema. This interdisciplinary book provides a comprehensive reappraisal of Chinese cinema, surveying the evolution of film production and consumption in mainland China as a product of shifting relations between art, politics, and commerce. Within these arenas, each of the twelve chapters treats a particular history, development, genre, filmmaker or generation of filmmakers, adding up to a distinctively comprehensive rendering of Chinese cinema. The book illuminates China’s changing state-society relations, the trajectory of marketization and globalization, the effects of China’s stark historical shifts, Hollywood’s role, the role of nationalism, and related themes of interest to scholars of Asian studies, cinema and media studies, political science, sociology, comparative literature and Chinese language. Contributors include Ying Zhu, Stanley Rosen, Seio Nakajima, Zhiwei Xiao, Shujen Wang, Paul Clark, Stephen Teo, John Lent, Ying Xu, Yingjin Zhang, Bruce Robinson, Liyan Qin, and Shuqin Cui.  —Hong Kong University Press

Media

01.21.96

Jackie Chan, American Action Hero?

Jaime Wolf
Whenever Jackie Chan leaves Hong Kong to make a public appearance in Shanghai, Taipei or Tokyo, or in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Seoul, hundreds—sometimes thousands—of his fans gather in a frenzy of adoration. Last June, Chan, the martial artist,...

Unjust Desserts

Jonathan D. Spence from New York Review of Books
Can there be any justice in today’s China? It is the deepest question that the film director Zhang Yimou has asked so far. His best-known earlier films, sexually supercharged, suffused with violence or the threat of it, always found some politically...