Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

-the term cinema of attraction comes from Tom Gunning -the earliest films in China were made by foreigners and shown as exotic spectacles -early films.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "-the term cinema of attraction comes from Tom Gunning -the earliest films in China were made by foreigners and shown as exotic spectacles -early films."— Presentation transcript:

1 -the term cinema of attraction comes from Tom Gunning -the earliest films in China were made by foreigners and shown as exotic spectacles -early films were called western shadow plays (xiyang yingxi ), recalling the ancient shadow play form (see images) I. Cinema as Attraction,

2 Lumiere Brothers camera/projector Lumière Brothers and Edison films were shown in China as early as 1896 Short Edison film of a ballerina

3 Or sometimes show as peep shows (above) Often part of variety shows (baixi ) Western shadow plays (xi yang yingxi ) were show in teahouses (below) and opera houses Contexts for showing early films

4 -Fengtai Photography Studio ( ) was the first Chinese-owned studio to produce films -run by Ren Jingfeng ( ) -made operatic films, such as Dingjun shan ( ; 1905), often considered the first Chinese film Tan Xinpei in Ding Jun shan Earliest Chinese films

5 II. Cinema as Narration ( ) -characterized by a rise of the narrative feature film by Chinese studios and directors and the new term yingxi (shadow drama) -popular entertainment film dominates; strongly influenced by the Butterfly fiction tradition ( ) -closely tied to civilized drama (wenmingxi ) Crew of the Asia Film Co., one of the early Chinese film companies

6 Top: still from Zhuangzi Tests his Wife; above: on the set of Nanfu nanqi -Asia Film Company ( ) -established in 1909 as a joint venture among Benjamin Brodsky, Zheng Shichuan ( ), and Zheng Zhengqiu ( ) -films based on historical tales -and short comedies such as Nanfu nanqi ( ; 1913), considered Chinas first narrative film -Zhuangzi Tests His Wife ( ; 1913) II. Cinema as Narration ( )

7 Emergence of Studio/Star System -during the 1920s, we see the emergence of a system of studios that compete -stars generally contracted to particular studios and help define the studio brand -two dominant studio are: Minxin ( ), est. by Li Minwei ( ) in 1923 Mingxing ( ), est. by Zhang Shichuan and Zheng Zhengqiu in lesser studios: Great Wall ( ); Dazhonghua baihe ( ); Shanghai Yingxi ( ); Commercial Press Film Department ( ), etc. Top: Xuan Jinglin ( ); above: Wang Hanlun ( ), became Mingxings first star after her performance in Orphan (1923)

8 May Fourth enlightenment influence -Commercial Press formed a Motion Picture Department in 1918 and promoted national cinema ( ) -produced mostly documentaries, but also operatic films of Mei Lanfeng performances -and a few feature films like Yan Ruisheng ( ); 1921), a kind of docu-drama based on a real murder case of a playboy killing a beautiful Shanghai courtesan Still from Yan Ruisheng shows the playboy Yan with the courtesan Wang Lianying

9 May Fourth enlightenment influence -Dan Duyu ( ) and Shanghai Yingxi Company produced, among other films, Sea Oath ( ; 1922), Chinas first love story -Tian Han ( ) and psychological cinema -Hou Yao and art for lifes sake (e.g., Haijiao shiren (Poet by the seaside) -Minxin Studio and enlightenment; produced 17 features, directed by Hou Yao, Bu Wancang, Sun Yu et al. -Da Zhonghua baihe ( ) and Shi Dongshans ( ) aestheticism Tian Han, Silver Dream ( ; 1927): cinema, as most powerful creation of humanity, canstimulate minds to daydreaming. Dream is the free movement of the heart and it mirrors the sadness of the oppressive world; -The arts have no hierarchy; those whose forms suit the times will flourish, and those which go against the times will naturally make no progress. Today is the era of Democracy, and the scope for elitist art is narrowing. Much more populist than theater film is truly the art which most suits our time; it has much room for development and reform (in Harris 1999: 71)

10 feature film genres comedy: Laborers Love (Laogong zhi aiqing ; dir. Zhang Sichuan, 1922) [CLIP] or The King of Comedy Travels to China ( ; 1922) -family drama: Orphan Rescues Grandfather ( ; dir. Zhang Shichuan, 1923) -historical theme or costume drama: Romance of the Western Chamber ( ; dir. Hou Yao, 1927) [CLIP] -scandal: Zhang Xinsheng ( ; dir Zhang Shichuan; 1922)

11 Ideology of Family Melodrama -generally conservative manifestation of traditional values of filial piety, family stability -the family is the locus for the playing out of moral values critical to society at large -yet also drawing attention to social problems still from Orphan Rescues Grandfather (1923)

12 Vernacular modernity -Mariam Hansen (2000: 10): film provides a sensory-reflexive horizon for the contradictory experience of modernity -film in China at this time was at once a conservative reaction against the corruption of the city and modernity and a reveling in all that modernity has to offer (fashion, make-up, architecture, interior design, transportation, etc.)

13 III. Cinema and Speculations ( ) A. general comments -emergence of Chinese national cinema, but dominance of market by Hollywood -increased number of studios competing feverishly, leading to many failures -importance of Nanyang as a market for Chinese films, given the relatively small number of theaters within China -break with foreign ownership -film and Shanghai

14 B. dominance of popular genres and styles -costume drama: historical themed films (e.g., Romance of the Western Chamber) Right: Publicity magazine cover for 1927 film production Romance of the Western Chamber; left: still from Red Lotus Temple

15 B. Dominance of popular genres and styles -martial arts genre ( ) (e.g., Burning of the Red Lotus Temple [ si; dir. Zhang Shichuan, , multipart] or Red Heroine ( ; 1929, dir. By Wen Yimin (see image right) -the former based on the novel by Xiang Kairan ( ), Jianghu qixia zhuan ( ; 1928)

16 Conclusions -gradual sophistication of film techniques and development of complex narratives -searching for a Chinese film style (foregrounding of acting, close relationship to stage performance, little experimentation with camera movement, convoluted plots and coincidence); from xiyang yingxi to yingxi -yet continued dominance of Hollywood films on the market -tight relationship between film and theater world, as well as with literary field (esp. Butterfly literature) -growing nationalism in terms of film production and a relatively tight relationship between film content and larger social issues of -market and commercial interest dominate, but aesthetics and didactic concerns compete

17 IV. Pre-War Cinema ( ) A. Emergence of Lianhua Studio -founded by Luo Mingyou and Li Minwei as an amalgamation of two earlier studios (1931) -sought the development of a national cinema and of a cinema of social conscience -centralized operations of production, distribution, exhibition -hired several progressive or leftist directors and playwrights, including Sun Yu and Bu Wancang Lianhua No. 1 Studio in Shanghai Luo Mingyou

18 B. Leftist cinema -leftist filmmakers emerge in the 1930s as a response to (1) Japanese imperialism, (2) KMT white terror, and (3) the Nationalist ban on martial arts films -associated with the League of Left-Wing Writers ( ) -leftist playwrights infiltrated the studio system, in particular Mingxing, Lianhua, and Yihua -faced Nationalist censorship -sought to use film to draw attention to imperialism, class inequities and exploitation and to present a more optimistic spirit of collective struggle -leftist film also incorporated Hollywood style (e.g. Song of Midnight [ ]); sometimes an uneasy combination of the leftist agenda with family melodrama (e.g., Song of the Fisherman [ ; 1934])

19 C. Continued Dominance of Hollywood -in 1933, 82% of films shown in China were from Hollywood; in 1934, it was 84%; in 1936, 89% -dominance only in exhibition, not in production (i.e. Chinese films continue to be made)

20 D. Transition to Sound -studios and filmmakers generally receptive to sound, but lack of technology slowed the transition -early sound films often only had sound accompaniment ( ): records of songs used as musical accompaniment (late 20s, early 30s) -eventually full synchronized sound on film was adopted (mid-30s) -issue of dialect (Mandarin versus local dialects such as Cantonese) Above: still from Sing-song Girl Red Peony (, first sound film; 1930); right: poster for the film

21 E. Studio system and stars -Shanghai film dominated by 4 studios: Lianhua, Mingxing, Tianyi ( ), and Yihua ( ); they account for more than 50% of film production -female stars dominate Ruan Lingyu Zhou Xuan Hu Die Li Lili ( )

22 Mingxing Studio A. CCP influence primarily in terms of script -realist, enlightenment, nationalist, didactic orientation B. peasant themes EXAMPLE: Spring Silkworms ( ; 1933); d. Zheng Bugao, s. Xia Yan C. worker themes EXAMPLE: The Cry of Women ( ); d. Shen Xiling ; s. Xia Yan EXAMPLE: 24 Hours in Shanghai ( ); d.Shen Xiling; s. Xia Yan D. Nationalist themes EXAMPLE: Street Angel ( ; 1937). d.Yuan Muzhi

23 Lianhua Studio A. Women Films EXAMPLES: Sange modeng de nuren (Three modern women). s. Tian Han ; d.Bu Wancang Xin nuxing (New woman); d. Cai Chusheng [CLIP] Shennu (The Goddess; 1934) (d.s.Wu Yonggang) B. Male films and the new masculinity EXAMPLE: Dalu (The highway; 1934); d.Sun Yu C. Reactionary EXAMPLE: Guofeng (Wind of the nation; 1935; silent). d. Luo Mingyou; a. Ruan Lingyu and Li Lili

24 Ruan Lingyu stars in New Woman (Xin nuxing; 1934), a leftist film that forefronts the plight of the new woman F. Conclusions Ruan Lingyu as a prostitute in The Goddess (Shennu;1934) 1. Centrality of female images

25 2. Progressive (leftist) filmmaking was not the only picture in the 1930s; popular films continued to be made; and as always, Hollywood films dominated the viewing public 3. not all films made by the progressive studios are progressive 4. leftist films also negotiated with the Hollywood style F. Conclusions

Download ppt "-the term cinema of attraction comes from Tom Gunning -the earliest films in China were made by foreigners and shown as exotic spectacles -early films."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google