Contemporary Chinese Cinema Lecture, QMUL, 5th December 2017

Like its turbulent history, Chinese cinema has undergone many upheavals throughout the twentieth century, from an art form that was virtually non-existent at the beginning of the century, to a tradition that developed its own aesthetic, studio systems and language. It was employed by the state to further war efforts and revolution, after which it became a medium of response and rebellion. Privatization of the industry towards the end of the century eventually led to a new interdependence between the state and filmmakers that propelled Chinese cinema into the twenty-first century, with an explosion of genres, production and distribution methods.

In this lecture I’ll provide a brief overview of the history of Chinese cinema, followed by a more detailed look at major works of the last thirty years, the industry which produced them and the backdrop of the China’s rapid cultural and socio-economic development, finishing with a screening as an example of not only the maturing of new film practices, and the representation of China’s social changes, but also how China’s older cinematic genres have been adapted. For the modern audience. List of films mentioned and discussed are below the module flyer.


Here’s the list of films mentioned and discussed during the lecture on Chinese cinema, mainland directors’ names in traditional Chinese order of surname first.


“The Battle of Dingjunshan”, 1905

“The Difficult Couple” directed by Zhang Shichuan, 1913

“King of Comedy Visits China”, 1922

“The Heroes of Guandong”, 1928

“The Burning of Red Lotus Mountain”, 1928


“The Goddess” Gao Feng and Wu Yonggang,1934

“Song of the Fishermen”, Cai Chusheng, 1934

“Spring Dream of an Old Capital”, Sun Yu, 1930

“Wild Flowers”, Sun Yu, 1933

“Little Toys”, Sun Yu, 1933

“Plunder of Peach and Plum”, Yuan Muzhi, 1934

“The Big Road”, Sun Yu

“Midnight Song”, Ma Xu Wei Bang, 1936

“New Old Shanghai”, Cheng Bugao, 1936

“Street Angel”, Yuan Muzhi, 1937

“Crossroads”, Shen Xilin, 1937

“Far Away Love”, Chen Liting, 1947

“A Spring River Flows East”, Cai Chusheng, 1947

“Unending Emotions” Hu Sang, 1947

“Fake Bride, Phony Bridegroom” Huang Zuolin, 1947

“Streets and Alleys” Pan Jienong, 1948,

“Spring Time in a Small Town” Fei Mu, 1948

“Light for A Thousand Families”, Shen Fu, 1948.


“Guerillas in the Plain”, Su Li and Wu Zhaodi,1955

“Basketball Player No. 5”, Xie Jin, 1957

“Eternal Wave”, Wang Ping, 1958

Cui Wei’s “Song of Youth”, Cui Wei,1959

“The Secret Guard in Canton”, Lu Jue, 1959

“Five Golden Flowers”, Wang Jiayi, (1959)

“Keep the Red Flag Flying”, Ling Zifeng, 1960

“Third Sister Liu”, Su Li, 1960

“Red Detachment of Women”, Xie Jin, 1961

“A Revolutionary Family”, Shui Hua,1961

“Station 51”, Liu Qiong 1961

“The Female Hairdresser”, Cheng Bugao, 1962

“Li Shuang Shuang”, Lu Ren, 1962

“Little Soldier Zhang Ga”, Cui Wei, 1963

“Two Stage Sisters”, Xie Jin 1965


“My Memories of Old Beijing”, Wu Yigong, 1983

“Woman, Demon, Human”, Wang Shuqin, 1987

“Chess King”, Teng Wenji, 1981

“The Seagul”, Zhang Nuanxi, 1981

“Countering Lights”, Ding Yinnan, 1982

“Sunset Street”, Wang Weihao, 1983

“Sacrificed Youth”, Zhang Nuanxi, 1986

“Hills and Dales”, Yan Xuenu, 1986

“The Fields Are a Green Gauze Curtain Again”, Xiao Guiyun, 1986

“The Young Couple’s Apartment”, Zheng Dongtian, 1987

“Old Well”, Wu Tianming,1987

“Black Snow”, Xie Fei, 1990

“Good Morning Beijing”, Zhang Nuanxi, 1991


“The Yellow Earth”, Chen Kaige, 1984

“The Black Cannon Incident”, Huang Jianxin, 1985

“Me and My Classmate”, Peng Xiaolian, 1986

“The Horse Thief”, Tian Zhuangzhuang, 1986

“King of Children”, Chen Kaige,1986

“Dislocation”, Huang Jianxin, 1986

“Red Sorghum”, Zhang Yimou, 1987

“Women’s Story”, Peng Xiaolian, 1988

“Judou”, Zhang Yimou and Yang Fengliang, 1990

SIXTH GEN (Urban Gen and New Urban Gen)

“Mama”, Zhang Yuan, 1990

“For Fun”, Ning Ying 1992

“The Days”, Wang Xiaoshuai, 1993

“Beijing Bastards”, Zhang Yuan, 1993

“Dirt”, Guan Hu, 1994

“One Day, in Beijing”, 1994

“Rain Clouds Over Wushan”, Zhang Ming, 1995

“One the Beat”, Ning Ying, 1995

“East Palace, West Palace”, Zhang Yuan, 1996

“Xiao Wu”, Jia Zhangke, 1997

“Beautiful New World”, Shi Runjun, 1998

“So Close to Paradise”, Wang Xiaoshuai, 1998

“I Love Beijing”, Ning Ying, 2000

“Beijing Bicycle”, Wang Xiaoshuai, 2001

“The Missing Gun”, Lu Chuan, 2002

“Spring Subway”, Yang Yibai, 2002


“Dream Factory”, Feng Xiaogang, 1996

“Be There or Be Square”, Feng Xiaogang, 1998

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, Ang Lee, 2000

“Platform”, Jia Zhangke, 2010

“Big Shot’s Funeral”, Feng Xiaogang, 2001

“Hero”, Zhang Yimou, 2002

“A World Without Thieves”, Feng Xiaogang, 2004

“Summer Palace”, Lou Ye, 2006

“Fearless” Ronny Yu, 2006

“The Bloody Case that Started with a Steam Bun”, Hu Ge, 2006

“Qin’s Moon”, Shen Leping, 2007 onwards,

“Red Cliff”, John Woo, 2008

“Ip Man”, Wilson Yip, 2008

“Underdog Knight”, Ding Sheng, 2008

“24 City”, Jia Zhangke, 2008

“Painted Skin”, Gordon Chan, 2008

“City of Life and Death”, Lu Chuan, 2009

“Let the Bullets Flying”, Jiang Wen, 2010

“House of Flying Daggers”, Zhang Yimou, 2010

“Mysterious Island”, Rico Chung, 2011

“1911”, Li Zhang and Jackie Chan, 2011

“Talk”, Meng Jun, 2011

“I Love You” (song with clay animation music video), from album “Sex, Drugs, Internet”, New Pants, 2011

“Blood Stained Shoes”, Wai Man Yip, 2012

“Back to 1942”, Feng Xiaogang, 2012

“Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons”, Stephen Chow, 2013

“The Grandmaster”, Wong Kar-Wai, 2013

“Special ID”, Clarence Fok, 2013

“The House that Never Dies”, Wai Man Yip, 2012

“Target”, Wang Jiang, 2014

“Mountains May Depart”, Jia Zhangke, 2015

“The Great Wall”, Zhang Yimou, 2016

“Phantom of the Theatre”, Wai Man Yip, 2016

“Demon Slayer 13” (Dao Shi Xia Shan), Zhang Tao, 2015

“Mountains May Depart”, Jia Zhangke, 2014

“Railroad Tigers”, Ding Sheng 2016

“The Guardian Brothers”, Gary Wang, 2016

“Big Fish, Begonia”, Liang Xuan, Zhan Chun, 2016








Posted in Culture and tagged , , , , , ,