Film Movement: China’s 5th and 6th Generation

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  • Topic: Tian Zhuangzhuang, Zhang Yimou, Cinema of China
  • Pages : 6 (1735 words )
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  • Published : February 21, 2013
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Film Movement: China’s 5th and 6th Generation

Out of all the China films, the films from the fifth generation was most well received and have clinched recognition from international film festival. Two of the acclaimed film works were Farewell, My Concubine and Raise the Red Lantern. The fifth generation of China filmmakers has also made a great advancement in China’s film industry. Directors of this generation include Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Tian Zhuang Zhuang etc;

Being the first group of students to graduate from the Beijing Film Academy after the Cultural Revolution. This is a group of filmmakers that have gone through the most dramatic turns of lives. They lived through the Cultural Revolution, times of conflict and social upheaval.

People of the time are very much “controlled”; they have lived through an era of suppression, deprived of the right to truly express themselves. It is clearly shown that this suppression is well channel into their films. Zhang Yimou said that: “with the Cultural Revolution as the back¬ground, I want to show the fate of peo¬ple… and the most valu¬able things in human nature that sur¬vived this recent period of Chinese his¬tory” (Cardullo, 2007).

While the batch ‘suppressed’ directors are so eager to tell their story, the fifth generation films bear a common element that is their controversial relationship with the past. Films are mostly based on the hardship of people in the times of the Cultural Revolution. (Paul, 2005)

Agreeing to Tang Yuankai (China Today, 2002) with regards to his point that the fifth generation filmmakers are not concern with serving the general audience with conventional story plots but is keener on with expressing their idea of artistic human expression.

The fifth generation filmmakers were found to be more interested in making films that were targeted at delivering their idealistic form of human expression than to make films that relates and serves the audience better. The filmmakers have overlooked the considerations of whether the films will performed in the market, faulted for their obsession with modernist aesthetics at the expenses of the box-office.

All director has different notion towards their films, however the fifth generation sees a batch of directors that shares a common rejection of socialist realist tradition during the communist period. Clearly, that was often the kind of films, which tackled sensitive political issues or government’s policy that are highly possible to be banned.

Film has always been a powerful medium to spread ideas and influence the mind. Films have to be scrutinized carefully before release for the general audience. The Central Film Bureau was founded in Beijing as early as December 1949, and the CCP censors supervised all films from screenplay to post production.

Filmmakers have to face the challenges of withstanding censorship and finding their true self. One great example is The Blue Kite directed by Tian Zhuang Zhuang, is a story about a boy name Tietou and the fate of his family in the early 1950s going through the Rectification movement, the great leap and the Cultural Revolution. A family that tries to pull themselves together in the difficulty times of china, and the whole family died tragically in the end. The movie “refuses to heal the trauma of the communist revolution”. It was a personal movie that the director felt that he has to make despite knowing that it will get him into trouble. Indeed, the film bans him from filmmaking for a period of ten years. Despite the fact that The Blue kite has won the Tokyo International Film Festival and Best film at the Hawaii International Film Festival it was being banned in China.

The Blue Kite was a movie ban in China because it was too ‘real’ to be featured. The period of the movie was set in the early 1950s, when the Cultural Revolution takes place. It paints a tragic picture of a family living in that era. On the other hand, To Live (1994) was...
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