Selected Open Access eBooks About Chinese Cinema and/or Society, Log-in Not Required
Chinese Film by Jason McGrathA tour de force chronicling the development of realism in Chinese cinema The history of Chinese cinema is as long and complicated as the tumultuous history of China itself. Be it the silent, the Communist, or the contemporary, each Chinese cinematic era has necessitated its own form in conversation with broader trends in politics and culture. In Chinese Film, Jason McGrath tells this fascinating story by tracing the varied claims to cinematic realism made by Chinese filmmakers, officials, critics, and scholars. Understanding realism as a historical dynamic that is both enabled and mitigated by aesthetic conventions of the day, he analyzes it across six different types of claims: ontological, perceptual, fictional, social, prescriptive, and apophatic. Through this method, McGrath makes major claims not just about Chinese cinema but also about realism as an aesthetic form that negotiates between cultural conventions and the ever-evolving real. He comes to envision it as more than just a cinematic question, showing how the struggle for realism is central to the Chinese struggle for modernity itself.
Publication Date: 2023-01-31
Early Film Culture in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Republican China by Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh (Editor)This volume features new work on cinema in early twentieth-century Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Republican China. Looking beyond relatively well-studied cities like Shanghai, these essays foreground cinema's relationship with imperialism and colonialism and emphasize the rapid development of cinema as a sociocultural institution. These essays examine where films were screened; how cinema-going as a social activity adapted from and integrated with existing social norms and practices; the extent to which Cantonese opera and other regional performance traditions were models for the development of cinematic conventions; the role foreign films played in the development of cinema as an industry in the Republican era; and much more.
Publication Date: 2018-03-22
Mainstream Culture Refocused : Television Drama, Society, and the Production of Meaning in Reform-Era China by Xueping ZhongSerialized television drama (dianshiju), perhaps the most popular and influential cultural form in China over the past three decades, offers a wide and penetrating look at the tensions and contradictions of the post-revolutionary and pro-market period. Zhong Xueping's timely new work draws attention to the multiple cultural and historical legacies that coexist and challenge each other within this dominant form of story telling. Although scholars tend to focus their attention on elite cultural trends and avant garde movements in literature and film, Zhong argues for recognizing the complexity of dianshiju's melodramatic mode and its various subgenres, in effect "refocusing" mainstream Chinese culture. Mainstream Culture Refocused opens with an examination of television as a narrative motif in three contemporary Chinese art-house films. Zhong then turns her attention to dianshiju's most important subgenres. "Emperor dramas" highlight the link between popular culture's obsession with emperors and modern Chinese intellectuals' preoccupation with issues of history and tradition and how they relate to modernity. In her exploration of the "anti-corruption" subgenre, Zhong considers three representative dramas, exploring their diverse plots and emphases. "Youth dramas'" rich array of representations reveal the numerous social, economic, cultural, and ideological issues surrounding the notion of youth and its changing meanings. The chapter on the "family-marriage" subgenre analyzes the ways in which women's emotions are represented in relation to their desire for "happiness." Song lyrics from music composed for television dramas are considered as "popular poetics." Their sentiments range between nostalgia and uncertainty, mirroring the social contradictions of the reform era. The Epilogue returns to the relationship between intellectuals and the production of mainstream cultural meaning in the context of China's post-revolutionary social, economic, and cultural transformation. Provocative and insightful, Mainstream Culture Refocused will appeal to scholars and students in studies of modern China generally and of contemporary Chinese media and popular culture specifically.