Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-hsien Wins Cannes Best Director Award for 'The Assassin'

Agence France-Presse
The Guangdong-born director’s film is a study in contemplative art despite its action-packed premise.

China Film Group Takes Role in Hollywood

Ben Fritz and Laurie Burkitt
Wall Street Journal
With a ten percent stake in ‘Furious 7’ China Film Group had, for the first time, an incentive to award an import a good release date.

Books

04.09.15

Revolutionary Cycles in Chinese Cinema, 1951-1979

Zhuoyi Wang
A comprehensive history of how the conflicts and balances of power in the Maoist revolutionary campaigns from 1951 to 1979 complicated and diversified the meanings of films, this book offers a discursive study of the development of early PRC cinema. Wang closely investigates how film artists, Communist Party authorities, cultural bureaucrats, critics, and audiences negotiated, competed, and struggled with each other for the power to decide how to use films and how their extensively different, agonistic, and antagonistic power strategies created an ever-changing discursive network of meaning in cinema. —Palgrave Macmillan{chop}

China’s Real Inconvenient Truth: Its Class Divide

Rachel Lu
Foreign Policy
Solving China's air and water pollution will require addressing the gap between rich urbanites and rural peasants...

China’s Premier Vows to Promote Film, TV Industries, “Core Socialist Values”

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
Li Keqiang pledging to promote  entertainment industry as delegates renewed calls for film classification system.

China Box Office Tops U.S. for First Time Ever

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
A Lunar New Year brought in $650 million in the second-largest movie market.

China Looks West to Bring ‘Wolf Totem’ to Screen

New York Times
French director Jean-Jacques Annaud was reportedly long-banned from China for “his 1997 film "Seven Years in Tibet."...

Chinese Director’s Film For Greenpeace Shows How Smog Changes Everything

Matt Sheehan
Huffington Post
The film follows families from Hebei, in heavily polluted industrial northern China, and from Beijing, the prosperous Chinese capital next door, that has seen epic pollution emergencies recently.

Books

12.23.14

Top Five China Books of 2014

Laura Chang
As the editor of ChinaFile’s Books section, I have the privilege of meeting and interviewing some amazing writers covering China today—academics, journalists, scholars, activists. Based on these conversations, we create short videos of the...

Media

10.24.14

Hong Kong Documentary Explores the Roots of Dissent

La Frances Hui
To many observers, Hong Kong’s “Umbrella Movement”—thousands of students and other citizens in the streets demanding to choose their own political leaders—seemed to unfurl, fully formed, out of nowhere. Residents of the former colony were supposed...

Books

10.21.14

Hou Hsiao-hsien

Richard I. Suchenski, Editor
For younger critics and audiences, Taiwanese cinema enjoys a special status, comparable with that of Italian Neorealism and the French New Wave for earlier generations, a cinema that was and is in the midst of introducing an innovative sensibility and a fresh perspective. Hou Hsiao-hsien is the most important Taiwanese filmmaker working today, and his sensuous, richly nuanced films reflect everything that is vigorous and genuine in contemporary film culture. By combining multiple forms of tradition with a uniquely cinematic approach to space and time, Hou has created a body of work that, through its stylistic originality and historical gravity, opens up new possibilities for the medium. This new volume includes contributions by Olivier Assayas, Peggy Chiao, Chung Mong-hong, Jean-Michel Frodon, Hasumi Shigehiko, Ichiyama Shōzō, Jia Zhang-ke, Kent Jones, Koreeda Hirokazu, Jean Ma, Ni Zhen, Abé Mark Nornes, James Quandt, Richard I. Suchenski, James Udden, and Wen Tien-hsiang, as well as conversations with Hou Hsiao-hsien and some of his most important collaborators over the decades.  —Columbia University Press {chop}

A Cinematic Context for Hong Kong’s Turmoil

Edward Wong
New York Times
Hong Kong’s film industry, commercial and broad-based as it is, has always provided a mirror of the territory’s political anxieties, and a record of its complex history.

Hong Kong Celebrities Largely Mum on Protests Gripping City

Violet Law
Los Angeles Times
Hong Kong celebrities are known for their omnipresence and outspokenness, but the city's galaxy of stars and starlets has been almost entirely out of sight during the pro-democracy sit-ins. ...

Chinese Studio Huayi Brothers to Invest $130 Million in New U.S. Branch

Los Angeles Times
The leading Beijing based independent film production house didn’t say where its U.S. office might be or hint at the number of employees it expects to staff its operation. The plan still needs official Chinese approval.

In China, a Search for Oscar Contenders

Edward Wong
New York Times
A film from mainland China has yet to win an Oscar, and Chinese officials are eager for the cultural validation that the award brings.

Culture

08.27.14

Standing Up for Indie Film in China

Jonathan Landreth
In July, Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth in the action-packed series of Hollywood films about trucks turning into giant robots to save the world, became the first film to sell more than $300 million in tickets at China’s box office...

China’s Movie Industry: All That Glitters Isn’t Gold

Jeongwen Qiang and Chen Lin
Forbes
If we just looked at their success, on the surface, the Chinese film industry appears to be flourishing; but there is some cause for concern.

‘Transformers’ in China: The Hidden Cost of a $300 Million Hit

Kim Masters
Hollywood Reporter
The record $317 million that Paramount’s new Transformers grossed in China in 31 days is impressive, but the struggle the studio has endured to collect a mere 25 percent of that total shows that mining gold behind the Great Wall is a daunting task.

Blood-Drenched Chinese Story to Finally Grace Big Screen … in Korea

Lillian Lin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
The film “Chronicle of a Blood Merchant,” based on the 1995 novel of the same name by best-selling Chinese writer Yu Hua, has finally begun shooting nearly 14 years after it was first announced. But it won’t be a Chinese film.

China Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Now No. 1 Film of All Time

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
After only 10 days in release, Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction has become the top-grossing movie of all time in China with $222.7 million in ticket sales, eclipsing the $221.9 million grossed by James Cameron’s Avatar. The 3D tentpole...

Paramount Rushes for Beijing ‘Transformers’ Premiere Amid Dispute

Julie Makinen
Los Angeles Times
The studio was hit by claims of a product-placement deal gone sour.

Meet ‘Crazy Jack,’ China’s E-Commerce Titan

Alexa Olesen
Foreign Policy
A former employee says Jack Ma sees himself as an artist, not a businessman.

Seeking More From Chinese Films

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
The China Film Directors’ Guild said it would not award a top prize for film or director of the year because Chinese films need to meet “a higher standard,” said director Feng Xiaogang. 

China’s Alibaba Launches Crowdfunding-Like Service for Film Investment

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
China's largest e-commerce company, Alibaba, launched a micro-finance service for movies...

Media

03.28.14

Ang Lee and Zhang Yimou Talk Movies

Jonathan Landreth
Ang Lee, the Oscar-winning American film director with Taiwan roots, and Zhang Yimou, the storied veteran of mainland Chinese moviemaking, joined together on March 27 at Cooper Union in New York in a discussion billed “Chinese Film, Chinese...

Media

03.01.14

China’s Oscar Challenge

Jonathan Landreth
On January 3, the film critics of The New York Times published their Oscar nominations wish list. Many of their wishes came true and on Sunday night, March 2, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will broadcast its annual celebration of...

Chinese Film ‘Black Coal, Thin Ice’ Wins Berlin Film Festival

Laurie Burkitt
Wall Street Journal
The recognition comes as China’s film studios and directors vie for a stronger position on the global stage — and they appear to be gaining ground.

Film Director Zhang Yimou Pays 7.5 Million Yuan Fine Over Children

Agence France-Presse
Zhang admits he has two sons and a daughter with his current wife and a daughter with a previous wife.

Imax Faces a Threat in China

Michael Cieply
New York Times
Competitors in China could cut into Imax’s potential market share, but the company has charged in several courts that a Chinese system relies on technology that was blatantly stolen.

China Teams Up with Hollywood for Terracotta Army Superhero Movie

Ben Child
Guardian
"Super Terracotta Warriors" is China's response to the recent slew of Hollywood films based on comic books. ...

China Fines ‘House of Flying Daggers’ Director for Breaching One-child Policy

Tania Branigan
Guardian
Film-maker Zhang Yimou, who has three children with wife Chen Ting, has to pay £750,000 for breaking law.

The Critics Choose Their Oscar Nominees

NYT
New York Times
Two of three New York Times film critics would nominate “Touch of Sin” for Best Picture and Jia Zhangke for Best Director in this year’s Oscars. 

China 2013 Box Office Surges 27 Percent to $3.6 Billion

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
Chinese box office revenue rose $760 million to $3.57 billion, an increase of 27 percent over last year's $2.8 billion (17 billion yuan), data from China's biggest online film review site, Mtime, showed...

Hong Kong’s Gilded Cage Unfolds in ‘Bends’

David Walter
Wall Street Journal
 Flora Lau’s new movie began, as all her film projects do, with the director grabbing a handheld camera and wandering the streets of Hong Kong for inspiration.

Unhinged in China

Ian Johnson
New York Review of Books
“A Touch of Sin” is made up of four interlocking stories that are meant to encompass the geographic sweep of China, and what director Jia Zhangke sees as the epidemic of violence and amorality in modern Chinese life. 

To Live and Die in Ordos

Derek Elley
Film Business Asia
This film is a character study of a socially responsible cop in a get-rich-quick modern bordertown whose life conveniently sums up the social and ethical tensions through which the whole country has been going during the past decade or so. 

‘A Touch of Sin,’ Four Tales from China by Jia Zhangke

Manohla Dargis
New York Times
A blistering fictionalized tale straight out of China, “A Touch of Sin” is at once monumental and human scale. A story of lives rocked by violence, it has the urgency of a screaming headline but one inscribed with emotional weight...

Will Wanda Buy Its Way Into Hollywood?

Patrick Frater
Variety
Chinese companies have an unfortunate habit of announcing deals before they are signed, or even agreed on, but Wang’s past dealings and current success give him the credibility that some other wannabe film moguls do not have. 

China’s Wanda Unveils $8.2 Billion Movie Fund

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
Wanda’s huge investment plan is an attempt to turn China’s movie industry into the world’s biggest within 5 years, and includes the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis which contains a 10,000-square-meter film studio, 19 smaller facilities...

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...

U.S.-China Film Summit Set to Expand

Patrick Frater
Variety
A step up from last year’s edition, the conference will expand to become an all-day seminar series on November 5, 2013 and will relocate to the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. Li Bingbing and Chris Dodd will receive their awards at a gala dinner.&...

Christopher Dodd, Li Bingbing to Be Honored at U.S.-China Film Summit

Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
As Hollywood and the booming Chinese film business have worked with increasing urgency to forge deeper ties and more mutual understanding over recent years, the Asia Society’s annual summit has emerged as a noteworthy networking occasion on the...

Conversation

09.27.13

Can China’s Leading Indie Film Director Cross Over in America?

Jonathan Landreth, Michael Berry & more
Jonathan Landreth:Chinese writer and director Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin won the prize for the best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Though the dialogue and its fine translation and English subtitles by Tony Rayns are exemplary, I...

China’s Dalian Wanda Group Gives $20 Million to Academy Museum

Rebecca Ford
Hollywood Reporter
The gift, the second-largest commitment received to date, was made as part of the Academy Museum’s $300 million campaign. The Academy will name the museum’s film history gallery The Wanda Gallery. 

Filmmaker Giving Voice to Acts of Rage in Today’s China

Edward Wong
New York Times
When Sina Weibo made filmmaker Jia Zhangke aware of just how many ordinary Chinese were being provoked by power-abusing members of society to commit acts of bloodshed, he decided to adapt his martial arts film to reflect the issues of the...

Is China Outgrowing Hollywood Film, TV Industry?

Patrick Frater
Variety
While Western media loves to trumpet its successes in China, with the strong showing of Hollywood blockbusters, it’s clear that China audiences aren’t just sitting and waiting for the next Hollywood blockbuster. 

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...

A Yang Fudong Retrospective at the Berkeley Art Museum

Blake Gopnik
New York Times
Yang Fudong is known for using the illogic of European art film (think of Antonioni, Resnais or the later Fellini) to talk about how China’s traditions clash with its modern realities. The retrospective runs through December 8. ...

Police Break Up Beijing Independent Film Festival

Natalie Ornell
China Digital Times
Directors, jury and invited guests who had come from as far as Sweden were told the 10th Beijing Independent Film Festival were threatened with power cuts and the arrest of Wang Hongwei if they persisted in holding the festival. 

‘The Grandmaster,’ Wong Kar-wai’s New Film

Manohla Dargis
New York Times
When Ip Man slyly asks “What’s your style?” it’s clear that director Wong Kar-wai is asking the same question because here, as in his other films, style isn’t reducible to ravishing surfaces; it’s an expression of meaning.  

A Path to the World for Chinese Directors

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
CNEX, a nonprofit, has unique connections in the Chinese Communist Party which help insulate budding documentarians from undue interference so they can film and release films on a broader array of issues. 

Wong Kar-wai on His New Film, ‘The Grandmaster’

Nicolas Rapold
New York Times
It may seem like a departure for the director of lush mood pieces like “In the Mood For Love” and “Chungking Express.” But “The Grandmaster” isn’t Mr. Wong’s first martial arts film nor does it dispense with his obsession with romantic...

Hollywood Studios Denied Payments from China

Rachel Abrams
Variety
Sony is up against an issue that has plagued the studios since at least January: The Chinese government wants to impose a value-added tax that cuts into what the studios expected to be their 25% revenue share of the Chinese box office.

Chinese Directors Express Doubt Over Censorship Reforms

Clarence Tsui and Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
Filmmakers such as Cannes best screenplay-winner Jia Zhangke have been quick to question the ambiguities of the Chinese government's new screenplay approval process. ...

Independent Thinking “Not Encouraged” in China’s Film Schools

Radio Netherlands Worldwide
The Chinese authorities have put an abrupt end to a training programme for aspiring independent filmmakers. And there’s still no official explanation why the 9th Edition of the Li Xianting Film School in Beijing was closed down. 

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...

China Box Office Up 36% to $1.79 Billion in First Half of 2013

Patrick Brzeski and Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
Buoyed by a surge in ticket sales for homegrown domestic films, China’s box office continued its rapid expansion in the first half of 2013, according to figures released by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television...

Filmmaker Du Bin Released on Bail

Sophie Beach
China Digital Times
Fimmaker, photographer and author Du Bin has been released after five weeks in detention in Beijing. On May 31, Du disappeared from his apartment in Beijing and was held by the police. Du was released on...

China Hopes to Score a Slam Dunk With 3-D NBA Film 'Amazing'

Julie Makinen
Los Angeles Times
The $10-million film, "Amazing," features New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, Lakers center Dwight Howard and former Chicago Bulls forward Scottie Pippen in supporting roles and had its world premiere at the Shanghai International...

China Must End Silence on Injustice, Warns Film Director Jia Zhangke

Tania Branigan
Guardian
A leading Chinese director has warned the country faces a rising tide of violence unless it tackles its social problems, as he discussed his graphic new film. Jia Zhangke's film, A Touch of Sin has been described as '...