Preethi Amaresh, Former Research Officer, Chennai Centre for China Studies (C3S)
China’s rise is the economic story of the 21st Century and the entertainment industry is no exception. Cinema was introduced in 1896 in China.[i] The film industry is viewed as part of China’s modernization process and with the global influence wielded by the country’s economy, the rise of “cultural industries” in China is seen as the next step on a path from a developing nation to a world power.
Before the 1949 revolution, China had a vibrant film industry. There were studios in Shanghai – the city was known as the Hollywood of China – which made comedies, romances and melodramas on an almost weekly basis, which were very popular with domestic audiences. But during the Cultural Revolution, the ruling Communist Party of China under Mao Zedong came close to destroying Chinese cinema. Soon after the Cultural Revolution the film industry again flourished as a medium of popular entertainment. [ii]
With China’s liberalization in the late 1970s and its opening up to foreign markets, commercial considerations made its impact in the post-1980s filmmaking. Fifth-generation Chinese filmmakers who had graduated from the Beijing film academy sought to popularize Chinese cinema abroad. Continue reading “China’s Global Influence in the Film Industry”