Reviewing 60 years of Chinese cinema

2009-09-25 16:52 BJT

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Over the decades, the film industry's development has been subject to changes in society. From the black-and-white movies in the 1950s to the special-effects-laden "Curse of Golden Flowers", Chinese cinema has gone through a long and rugged journey.

Today we are going to chronicle the trajectory of China's cinematic development since the founding of the People's Republic of China.

A Tribute to New Chinese Cinema since 1949

The movie "Bridge" premiered amid much fanfare in northeast China in 1949. It was the first feature film after the founding of the People's Republic of China.

By portraying a group of bridge construction workers, the movie marked the first time that members of the working class played leading roles on the big screen.

"Bridge" kicked off a new style of big-screen entertainment in China. In the next thirty years, some four-hundred morale-boosting movies were churned out. Themes for extolling soldiers, peasants, and workers set the major tone of Chinese cinema.

With heroics and exemplary characters etched deeply in the audience's mind, these movies helped document China's revolutionary history, and inspired patriotism.

Xie Fei, professor of Beijing Film Academy, said, "The majority of films after 1949 focus on ordinary people such as peasants, soldiers and workers, in line with a cultural guideline put forward by Chairman Mao. The government called on the filmmakers to break the stereotype set by previous directors who had made too many films about emperors, intellectuals, and other social elites."