The 'Long March' to Tinseltown

Liu Wei
China Daily
After working with Hollywood companies at a basic level for many years, it is only a matter of time before Chinese capital takes a share in the major six Hollywood studios. The next Kung Fu Panda will be the brainchild of both american and Chinese...

International Revenue for Chinese Films Fell by Half in 2012

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
Titled “Silver Paper: Report on International Spread of Chinese Movies 2012,” the survey found that only 75 domestic productions were sold overseas last year, generating rights fees and ticket sales of $172.8 million (1.06 billion yuan). ...

Media

06.07.13

Can Animation Cure What Ails the Chinese Movie Industry?

“Gold rush.” “1920s Hollywood.” “Faster than a speeding bullet.” These are a few ways that film professionals have described China’s booming movie industry. China’s film market, the second-largest in the world, grossed roughly U.S.$2.7 billion in...

‘Monsters University’ to Open Shanghai Festival

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
Monsters University will make its bow in China as the opening film of the Shanghai International Film Festival. The premiere adds to Pixar’s major publicity blitz in pushing Monsters University in China.&nbsp...

Belay for Hollywood

Wei Xi
Global Times
In summer 2012,  when foreign productions were moved out of China’s multiplexes, a widely observed phenomenon unofficially called “domestic movie protection month” was implemented. It seems this measure is going to be repeated this...

So Young Enters China’s All-Time Top 10 Films

Stephen Cremin
Film Business Asia
After three weeks in cinemas, So Young is now the tenth highest theatrical release of all time in China, having taken RMB655.5 million (US$107 million) by May 16, 2013. 

Why Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. Is On Weibo But Not Twitter

Gwynn Guilford
Quartz
Notable is the recent aggressive outreach to Chinese audiences by Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr. Not only did he visit China for the first time in his life to talk up the film, but Downey also set up a personal account on Sina Weibo. 

DreamWorks Experience To Debut In Macau, China

Sophie Shillaci
Hollywood Reporter
As part of a new partnership between DreamWorks Animation and Sands China, the studio will debut its DreamWorks Experience at the Resort in Macao beginning July 1. 2013.

Django Could Soon Be Unchained (Again) In China

Laurie Burkitt and Lilian Lin
Wall Street Journal
After being unexpectedly pulled from theaters moments after its Chinese release earlier this April, Quentin Tarantino’s controversial “Django Unchained” could return to theaters as early as May 7.

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...

The China Clusterf--k: Is Hollywood Fed Up?

Kim Masters
Hollywood Reporter
Even if studios expect only the chance to play a movie in Chinese theaters and believe all hurdles have been cleared, sudden obstacles can arise. Such was Sony's experience with Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained,...

Hollywood’s Box Office Heroes Proving Mortal In China

Michael Cieply
New York Times
If the preferences of Chinese moviegoers continue to shift to domestic releases — ticket sales for American movies in China fell 65 percent, to about $200 million in Q1 2013 — China will maintain control...

‘Unmade In China’ - When China Tries Calling A Filmmaker’s Shots

Ian Buckwalter
NPR
Unmade in China is nominally about filmmaking, but what Kofman and Barklow do well is to use their unusual position within the Chinese state machine - sponsored and controlled by the government - to make a thinly veiled movie about politics...

China Censors The Word ‘Censorship’

Al Jazeera
‘China’s Spielberg’, film director Feng Xiaogang, gave an emotional acceptance speech for ‘director of year’ in which he referred to censorship as a “torment” for Chinese filmmakers. The video - in which the word ‘censorship’ was censored - has...

Pinewood Shepperton, China’s Seven Stars Ink Joint Venture Deal

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
The venture comes amid a slew of recent collaborations between Hollywood studios and Chinese partners as foreign entertainment companies look to break into China, and as China seeks to increase its capacity for soft power. 

Hollywood Descends On China For Beijing International Film Festival

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
At this year’s festival Keanu Reeves debuts his upcoming movie, LucasArts’ Kathleen Kennedy delivers a keynote speech on modern storytelling, and many other Hollywood bigwigs come to town for business, screenings, signings, and more.

In China, The World’s Biggest Movie Lot Gets Even Bigger

Ian Johnson
New Yorker
Some of China’s most iconic buildings have been erected on Hengdian’s sprawling lot, giving the place the ersatz-historical feel of Colonial Williamsburg.  

The Dangerous World Of Independent Film In China

Isabelle Regnier
Le Monde
An interview with Zhang Xianmin, founder of one of the many independent cultural events that were banned last year by the Chinese government. 

What China’s New President Means For The Entertainment Industry

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
Although China's annual foreign movie quota was recently increased, there’s much uncertainty surrounding how Xi’s rise to power will impact the entertainment industry. ...

‘Iron Man 3’ Blasts Away at China Co-Production Myth

Laurie Burkitt
WSJ: China Real Time Report
China film consultant Robert Cain said the three companies behind “Iron Man 3”  have likely opted out of trying to gain China’s co-production stamp in favor of winning global appeal. 

Media

03.08.13

“Shanghai Calling” Translates Funny

Jonathan Landreth
Director Daniel Hsia and producer Janet Yang were motivated to make Shanghai Calling, their first feature film together, by the shared feeling that no matter how much more important relations between the United States and China grew, they always...

Chinese Cinemas Cancel Propaganda Film Screenings

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
Theater operators in several cities called off showings of government-backed “Young Lei Feng” after the film failed to sell a single ticket during its premiere on Monday.

China Launches Screenwriting Competition for U.S. Writers

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
The competition is the Chinese authorities’ latest attempt to get the country more exposure in international markets through voices that might be more in touch with the tastes of foreign audiences.  

After Ang Lee’s Oscar Win, China Imagines Cinema Beyond Censors

Abby
Global Voices
A look at the various reactions on Chinese social media to Lee's Oscar victory , as well as the censorship-related conversation it sparked...

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...

Culture

01.16.13

Hong Kong’s Bard of the Everyday

Ilaria Maria Sala
 I have your words, that you put down on paperbut nothing at hand to return, so I write downpapaya. I cut one open: so many dark points, so many undefined things On Sunday, January 6, when Leung Ping-kwan, author of these lines,...

Media

01.09.13

Why is a Mediocre, Low-Budget Comedy Taking China’s Box Office by Storm?

December 2012 saw hot competition in Chinese cinema. It began with Life of Pi, which was directed by Ang Li, an Oscar-winning director, followed by 1942, a historical movie by director Feng Xiaogang, and The Last Supper, by up-and-coming director Lu...

Chinese Directors Call for Censorshp Reform

Clarence Tsui
Hollywood Reporter
Chinese filmmakers are calling for a system of classifying films according to their suitability for audiences of different ages.

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...

Culture

11.27.12

Remember to Tell the Truth

Maya E. Rudolph
The recording of memory brings history to life and creates a legacy of its own. In 2010, documentary filmmaker Wu Wenguang launched the Memory Project to try to shine a light on the long-shrouded memories of one of modern China’s most traumatic...

China's 'Beijing Blues' Wins at Taiwan Film Fest

The Associated Press
Associated Press
Director Gao Qunshu's drama is about a Beijing police detective's battle against crime with a squad of plainclothes crime-hunters...

Culture Books Han Suyin obituary

John Gittings
Guardian
Chinese-born author best known for her 1952 book A Many-Splendoured Thing. The film of her 1952 book A Many-Splendoured Thing may have been just a classic weepie, but the original novel shocked Hong Kong with its tale of her love affair...

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...

Viewpoint

10.29.12

Hollywood Film Summit Draws Chinese Movie Moguls

Jonathan Landreth
LOS ANGELES—Hollywood and Chinese movie makers and industry hangers-on will gather Tuesday at the third annual Asia Society U.S.-China Film Summit on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles.At a gala dinner Tuesday night, organizers...

National Identity: Pictures of the Enemy

N.D.
Economist
The national identity has become so unfortunately bound up with demonstrations against Japan. So we turn from recent differences to subjects less timely. The horrors of the Nanjing massacre of 1937 have long stoked the imagination of...

Sinica Podcast

09.14.12

Hollywood Comes to China

Jeremy Goldkorn, William Moss & more from Sinica Podcast
When Xi Jinping headed to the United States earlier this year in what everyone assumed was a pre-coronation victory lap, one of the more surprising outcomes of his visit ended up being a stopover in Los Angeles, where China agreed to increase the...

A Rare and Precious Opportunity

Dan Edwards
Screening China
Last month the Film Southasia festival, showcasing documentaries from around the South Asia region, took place in Kathmandu, Nepal. China Exposé, a program of six independent Chinese works, was a prominent part of this year's festival. La...

Indie Filmmakers Feel Heavy Hand of Beijing

Jonathan Landreth
New York Times
Independent filmmaking is tough anywhere in the world, but in China, especially, it is not a vocation for the faint of heart. A recent attempt to hold a festival of independent film at a public art gallery in front of 500 people was thrown into...

Big Trouble in China: Festival Director Li Speaks Out About Beijing Independent Film Fest Shut Down

Kevin B. Lee
Indiewire
Last Saturday China’s independent film community faced their latest setback when the Beijing Independent Film Festival was forced to cancel its public screenings upon pressure from local authorities.  This was the third consecutive...

Interview with Head of Beijing Independent Film Festival Li Xianting

Kevin B. Lee
dGenerate Films
Last Saturday China’s independent film community faced their latest setback when the Beijing Independent Film Festival was forced to cancel its public screenings upon pressure from local authorities.  This was the third consecutive...

Warning from China Film Watchdog: Not Enough ‘Co’ in Co-Productions

Laurie Burkitt
Wall Street Journal
China has a message for Hollywood: The door to the fastest-growing film market is not wide open. Chinese film regulators say they are cracking down on China-U.S. co-productions as several upcoming films have exploited existing co-production rules to...

Nonsense Made Sense: The Downside Up World of Stephen Chow

La Frances Hui
Asian American Writers' Workshop
A young woman, Ah Qun, has gone where few right-minded human beings would dare go: a heavily guarded mental institution. She is on a mission to track down a mysterious man she spotted the night before who bravely confronted a spooky ghost. But as...

“If They Won’t Make It, I Can”-An Interview with Documentarian Hu Jie

Dan Edwards
ArtSpace China
 For many in contemporary China, the past is another country – and a hazy, dimly lit one at that. It’s not uncommon to meet young people in China who can recite every dynasty in the nation’s 5,000 year history, yet can barely muster more...

Caixin Media

08.09.12

Subsidized Cartoons, Comics Tickling Too Few

Breaking into the animated film industry usually requires a basic plan for blending colorful images and clever storytelling in ways that entertain the public—and make money.Since 2006, however, animated film start-ups in China have done quite well...

Ai Weiwei Vouches for ‘Never Sorry’ Film

Jonathan Landreth
Wall Street Journal
Alison Klayman was just 24, and a China novice, when she wandered almost by accident into the tumultuous life of Ai Weiwei, China’s most outspoken artist-turned activist, in 2008. The American journalist, from a conservative Jewish upbringing in...

SARFT Goes After Online Video, Again

Jeremy Goldkorn
Danwei
A spokesman for the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) announced yesterday that some original drama series and films on video websites like Youku.com and Tudou.com don’t meet government censorship standards and contain...

Out of School

06.25.12

Review: “The Revolutionary”

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
The Revolutionary, a new documentary that has begun showing on university campuses and at cultural centers, looks at the life of Sidney Rittenberg, a ninety-year-old man who has had an extraordinary variety of experiences. Born into a well-to-do...

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...

Culture

02.28.12

Philosophies of Independence: The Li Xianting Film School

from Leap
Riding the 938 bus out of Beijing’s Guomao station, the Central Business District gradually dissolves on the hour-long journey east to Songzhuang, giving way to a landscape not unlike that found in hundreds of county-level towns across China. An...

A Very Superior ‘Chinaman’

Richard Bernstein from New York Review of Books
Charlie Chan, the fictitious Chinese-American detective from Hawaii, makes his first appearance in the movie Charlie Chan in Egypt (1935) looking out the window of an airplane while flying over the Pyramids and the Sphinx. We next see him, looking...

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

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...

Blazing Passions

Geoffrey O’Brien from New York Review of Books
In a coincidence of programming in New York City a selection of the commercially most successful Hong Kong movies of the 1980s ran at the same time as a retrospective of work (some of it only marginally released in its country of origin) by the...

Born Too Late

John K. Fairbank from New York Review of Books
The Last Emperor is a spectacular film photographed in brilliant color. It is also a moral drama with controversial political overtones of great ambiguity. It spans sixty years of history, between the Manchu dynasty’s final decrepitude and the...