Books and Movies Reviews

Chinese Cinema and the American Counterpart

One large difference between Chinese and American cinema is the governments’ involvement with the production and releasing of a film.Generally speaking, the Chinese directors that choose to touch on sensitive subjects execute their scripts so sincerely that the government feels the need to interfere and come between the filmmaker and the audience.The films become more serious because of this censorship since they are dealing with real life issues.Conversely, in America, filmmakers tend to either poke fun at the lives of Americans or portray their leaders as noble and courageous as a form of silly propaganda.
When Deng Xiaoping took over after the death of Mao Zedong, he set in motion the reopening of the Beijing Film Academy.The three top students, Chen Kaige, Zhang Yimou and Tian Zhuangzhuang, would go on to create the next wave of controversial Chinese films.Yellow Earth, directed by Chen Kaige and shot by Zhang Yimou, was one of thefirst movies created by this young group of filmmakers, known as the Fifth Generation.It was banned due to its portrayal of 1930’s China.The movie touches on old traditions versus the new customs.Brother Gu is a soldier, sent to collect old folk songs to bring back to the troops.Giving the old bitter songs new words to sing is a metaphor for the changing of the role of women in China.Brother Gu explains to Cuiqiao how the women are allowed in combat, allowed to cut their hair, allowed to chose their husbands and generally lead less strict lives than the northern women.Brother Gu is a form of hope for Cuiqiao, as well as Hanhan.Their father, elderly and old-fashioned, appreciates him in their home for his efforts, but not in the same manner as the children do.The children will live and not much will change; they will follow their ancestors’ footsteps, continuing the work they have carried out their entire lives.The father says that when a boy marries, it is happiness, b…


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