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History Of Chinese Cinema. Essay

2108 words - 8 pages

Chinese cinemaThe history of film is an important one today. Many people in our society today may see film as simply a form of entertainment, but it is indeed more than that. Film is a medium of expression that is unlike no other. It can tell many tales of many different types of people throughout history. Film is also a good reflection of culture. The art of film can often be seen imitating life and telling the story of a nation and their peoples. China is one such country with a celebrated history of film.Chinese cinema is often divided into six generations. The term "generations" is used to make it easier to group the different phases of Chinese film history, but they are not completely different from one another. A particular generation may share something in common with the previous generation, while also passing something onto the next generation. In a sense, the history of Chinese film can be said to have gone through a sort of evolution from its beginnings to the present.The first and second generations of film began during the 1890's and continued through the beginning part of the early 1900's. These two generations of Chinese film are often seen as the pioneers for Chinese cinema. Many of these films consisted of operatic shorts and short comic skits. Eventually the Chinese would go on to make full length film features. The first film length Chinese film ever made was created in 1921 and was entitled Yan Ruishe. Some years later a new trend in film began. Many dancers ad stage performers began to move from the stage to the screen. This may have seemed like a good fit at the time, but many of the dancers-turned-actors were not successful. One actress who was successful was Ruan Lingyu. Unfortunately she committed suicide in 1935. Stephanie Donald tells us that in her suicide note, "she was in despair at gossip about her private life" (4). It's interesting to see that even in the early stages of film in China, there were the same types of problems that celebrities often face in modern day Hollywood. It seems that any culture tends to have a fascination with the lives of the celebrities of their time.The third generation of Chinese film shows an evolution with regards to the way the camera is used and how the films are edited. These changes mirror the camera tyle of Hollywood of the time. According to Donald some of these techniques are, "two- to three-head dialogue sequences to introduce and develop story lines, jump cuts, and cuts on action to keep several narrative strands in place without losing momentum or suspense, and dream sequences or flashbacks" (5). Two figures who best represent the third generation of Chinese film are Sang Hu and Shui Hua. Some of Sang's films include Joys and Sorrows of Middle Age and A Make-Believe Couple. The latter movie focuses on a woman's hairdresser looking for a wealthy wife and a young single mother looking for a wealthy husband. The film is a comedy, which has many tones of Hollywood running through...

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