The new era of Chinese cinema started to flourish soon after the Cultural Revolution.
The rise of the Fifth Generation of Chinese filmmakers during the second half of the 1980s brought about an increase in the popularity of Chinese cinema abroad. A few directors of this period, such as Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige, have claimed fame internationally. Splendid visual display has become the signature story-telling mode of this Generation.
However, the Fifth Generation movement effectively ended during the late 80's, although its major directors continued to produce notable works. About a decade later, an edgy underground film movement emerged in Chinese cinema. The so-called Sixth Generation has been seen as the 'return of the amateur filmmakers' with a more individualistic, anti-romantic perspective. Compared with the Fifth Generation they paid much more attention to contemporary urban life, especially where this was affected by disorientation.
The multi-national production 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' achieved massive success in the Western box office just as Chinese cinema stepped into the 21st century. It provided an introduction to the Chinese screen for many, and increased the popularity of many Chinese films which otherwise might have been relatively unknown to Westerners. Moreover, this success blurred the boundary between Mainland Chinese cinema and a more internationally-based 'Chinese-language cinema'. This merging of people, resources and expertise from three regions (China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) seemed to imply that Chinese-language cinema was moving toward the international arena and looking to compete with the best Hollywood films.
This page is devoted to the legendry films projected in the contemporary Chinese cinema, which gazes at the past, present and future of China.
The popularity of British arts and culture rocketed in China after the smoke of the Sino-British Opium Wars (1839-1840 and 1841-1842) had vanished on the sea. Through the post-war settlement and series of treaties the Qing government tragically lost its political possession of a few vital ports to Great Britain.
However, for the Chinese, a brand-new way of life and brand-new views of the world were rising on the horizon as the British flooded into this culturally self-centred oriental nation.
Culture clashing and mixing have continued ever since.
In the 19th century Great Britain forced its free trade policy, Western morality and legal system onto the Orient while China tried to hold tightly onto its past.
In the wake of the Sino-British Opium Wars, Great Britain acquired the island of Hong Kong and extraterritoriality rights in China . This post-war settlement and the later treaties formally opened China to the West.
Shanghai was a cosmopolitan city in the 1920's and 30's. Luxurious Western lifestyles had been introduced by foreign travellers . Golf, swimming, ballroom dancing and horse riding grew significantly in popularity among most upper-class Chinese.
British architecture had been exported to China when thousands of Europeans managed to relocate their colonial lives to the Far East . Even today a considerable number of British-built landmarks still appear as iconic sceneries of some important ports in China .
Western culture gradually tapped into China following the end of the Cultural Revolution. In the 1980’s, many artists from the British music industry and the acting world became household names to the Chinese public.
The handover of Hong Kong in 1997 led the UK and China to expand their association into a whole range of areas, though perhaps inevitably it stirred up a number of political and cultural clashes between Britain and China.