Essay Sample on Chinese Cinema: From 1896 to 1905 - A Transforming Journey

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1432 Words
Date:  2023-01-01


Throughout history, the dimension surrounding the way that Chinese films were shot has changed. The film scope of Chinese movies has undergone a transition in terms of the generation that they were recorded. The first movie with sound was shot in 1905 and with this development in film from the first movie shot in 1896 opened up opportunities for growth of Chinese cinema. Most of the first films were based in Shanghai China, and during the beginnings, American culture influenced Chinese cinema. The way that pictures were envisioned has changed over time to the modern day China that we know. Most of the changes that have taken place have made it possible for China to develop technologically. China has the latest studios and cinemas in the new century and has revolutionized in cinematography.

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The subject matter of Chinese films is among the first changing component of the movie. With the end of the world war movies war mainly showed the depraved conditions faced by soldiers. As generations started to change so did the film subject matter change. The cinema schools were better equipped with knowledge on how to capture moving images. The directors also devised cinematic techniques that made their movies even seem more realistic. The culture was also changing in a significant manner since Confucian theories were emerging as very helpful to the people. The martial arts were also captured in film themes and stars were born that championed the issues (Li, 2019).

With time the content that was produced was unique thus sold out in the markets. The demand was high for the movies since they were entertaining to watch by local and foreign markets. The producers were also finding it easy to appeal to the needs of the audience through the kind of content that was created. So it even got more comfortable for the market to be controlled by the Chinese producers by creating content. Directors came up with different styles of cinematography. The kind of shots that were used to capture moments were diversified. The editing that was done to combine the story into one complete film which was improving with time (Li, 2019).

With the use of new techniques in the Chinese film on the international level, it attracted the views of critiques from other regions such as Britain, Germany, and China. The championed change brought new beginnings and increased air time for the different plays. Billboards were elected, and the element of color was incorporated into the field of the film world. After some time there was enough presence for the market; thus directors had the potential to manipulate their cinemas. With the improvement in technology came the application of 3d cinema. The audience was thrilled and wanted more techniques when using cinematic techniques (Li, 2019).

Looking at the history of film China stands even better chances of growing further compared to America. Lumiere brothers are said to be the first to get a breakthrough in the film technology with their first motion pictures of workers leaving the Lumiere factory. At the same time, the first film to be ever shot in China known as Dingjun Mountain made its trademark in the history of cinema. From that time there has been continued support of the Chinese film industry. Some movies have blessed the cinemas such as Spring in a small town, Red Detachment of Women soldiers. Ruan Lingyu has also changed the way that film was perceived in China from the year 1935. As it is now China has the latest technology used for pre-production, production, post-production, and screening.

During 1946, the communist party developed the Northeast film studio which utilized the equipment which had been abandoned by the Manchurian motion pictures. After the Shanghai Film Studio was designed it accommodated the studios which were being controlled by the Nationalists. These studios were using the mobile and theatre projections which helped in taking the film in rural areas so that they could educate people about the political ideologies. The role of the movie as a socio-political tutor involved the content and meaning regulation which was based on the goals and objectives of the party. Nationalism among the Chinese film was guided by the Soviet film experts which lasted between 1950 to the 1980s (Zhu & Nakajima, 2010). The central government agenda controlled the films which were produced during the nationalist era.

In mid-1950, a system which ensured licensing of the approved films was promulgated thus providing the Film Bureau approved the imported and domestic movies for the exhibition. This bureau determined the distribution of the film all over the country hence controlling the market for film. The film management company which was established in Beijing purchased the complete film prints from different studios. The company based the movies they bought on longer than the market value or the quality of the film. The local bureaus controlled the exhibition and the distribution of the film at the provincial level. Local exhibitors at the provincial level altered the length of the film depending on the popularity of particular movies. Therefore, damaging of the future development of the movie industry led to the nationalization of the studio systems hence providing shelter to the new and veteran studios. This system consolidated the film capital and technology thus nourishing the movie talent production in an environment which was free from the financial constraints. The policy which was created by the Chinese government regarding the entertainment sector promoted the Chinese great entertainment films hence keeping the West European imports and Hollywood movies at bay (Zhu & Nakajima, 2010). Therefore, through this reform, the Chinese entertainment industry showed positive progress which lasted until the cultural revolution which occurred in the middle of 1960.

Due to globalization in 1990, production reforms were established which promoted the importation of the Hollywood movies which were anticipated to shape the Chinese Film industry. The Chinese film market was to engage in the globalization which accelerated China's accession into the global trade organization. The imported blockbusters were to represent the nation of the art in the world cultural achievement thus displaying the success of the film art and technique. The technological, artistic and cultural achievements were measured by the box office return, star power or the prospective film's budget. The economic status of China determined the importation of the Holly Wood films hence making Twister, Waterworld, Natural born killers, and others to engage in the participation of the Chinese cinemas. The Holly Wood imports into China led to the generation of significant box office revenues which contributed to a seventy to eighty percent of the large box in 1995 (Zhu & Nakajima, 2010). This imports led to the restoration of the film viewing audiences hence bringing back the film market among the Chinese community. Among the Chinese, going to the films became a major entertainment which was beneficial to the Chinese cinema. Also, the audience began to notice the local movies which had high technological pictures thus referring to them as the big domestic pictures. Therefore, the Chinese cinema made a recovery of the total box return which was higher than the previous year thus getting recognized as the year of cinema.

Since import had restored the market of the film industry in China, the success of the domestic box inbox emanated from the productions which included the private investments. The state-run studios proceeded to make the marketable movies where the internal film produced in 1995 were the affordable knockoffs of the Hong Kong style and the Holly Wood entertainments films. The majority of those films were the turkeys which were made by either the profit-conscious personal investor or the financially ailing nation-run studios. The government developed strict policies when the low production value and low budget entertainment pictures did not generate the anticipated profits. Through these sanctions, the pirated rock music arose in the commercial, cultural markets which helped in criticizing the spiritual pollution in the Chinese entertainment environment. After the decrease in the production of the Holly Wood movies with the support from the government, the market and the revenue collected from the film declined to lead to cinema downturn in 1996 (Zhu & Nakajima, 2010). Therefore, the movies industry in China has continued to improve compared to the ancient time leading to an improvement in the market and the entertainment industry.


Li, A. (2019). The History of Chinese Film. Retrieved from

Zhu, Y., & Nakajima, S. (2010). The evolution of Chinese film as an industry. Art, politics, and commerce in Chinese cinema, 17-33. Retrieved from

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