Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
China film tradition was always brought interest to me. I want to know more about China film tradition because I watch a lot of chinese films. I wanted to learn more about my culture from film traditions. For the project, I research the how China filmmaking evolved over time, Beijing Opera, director Zhang Yimou and Stephen Chow. The movies that I chose to watch and talk about is Raise the Red Lantern by Zhang Yimou and CJ7 by Stephen Chow. In my project, I chose to talk about how filmmaking transformed throughout the years, the Beijing opera, two directors and their movies.
China was introduced to motion pictures in the 1896. Their first movie that they tried to make was made in 1905 and it was called Conquering Jun Mountain. The first movie was made but the industry of filmmaking didn’t begin until 1913. China didn’t make a good influence in film history before 1930s. And the reason for that is because of the lack of originality. After that, the China has been focusing on their history and communist party. During the cultural revolution, China had to stop making film from 1966 to 1972.
The Beijing Opera emerged in the mid eighteenth century. It was recognized in mid nineteenth century. Opera is one of the popular theatrical entertainment. It is a chinese opera. There is people wearing costumes, masks, makeup. In there performances there are martial arts, dancing, and singing. The actors knows dancing, and acrobats. They don’t use a lot dialogue. They usually act it out with a lot of emotion and exaggerations.
The first director I chose to talk about is Zhang Yimou. Zhang Yimou is born on April 2, 1950. Yimou’s life turned around after the Cultural Revolution began. He went to Beijing Film Academy and Yale University. He majored in photography at Beijing Film Academy. And he got a doctorate at Yale. He directed his very first movie in 1987 which was called Red Sorghum. This movie won best pictures award in 1988 at the Berlin International Film Festival. A lot of his movies were nominated for academy award.
The second director I choose is Stephen Chow. He was born on June 22, 1962 in Hong Kong. He went to Beijing Film Academy like Zhang Yimou. He didn’t start off as a director, he started as an actor. He was raised by his mother and grandmother after his dad and mom got divorced. He loved watching kung-fu movies since he was a kid, which that led him to becoming an actor. He wanted to be like Bruce Lee. Chow started to learn martial arts and wing chun.
Zhang Yimou movie Raise the Red Lantern was the choice of movie that I picked. The genre of the movie is romance and drama. It has a good representation of struggling women’s right. The main girl dad has recently past away. And left in bankrupted. Her stepmother didn’t want to support her, so she had to married into a wealthy family. The lighting in this movie is very important and it involves the lantern. The lantern tells the audience when the master of the house is visiting which wife. When the wife is being visit, they get special treatment like foot massages and foot cleaning. If the lantern is covered by a cloth at the wife’s apartment, it means that the master will not visit them anymore. And that is the punishment if the wifes did something wrong. The lantern is an important prop in the movie. It represents passion and power. There are also some low-angle and high-angle shots.
The second movie I picked is CJ7, produced by Stephen Chow. The genre of the movie is sci-fi. It’s about a dad and his son who live in a poor neighborhood. And the dad works at the construction site. And one day the dad found a UFO. And in the UFO is CJ7 was in it. He brought it home and showed it to his son. The movie has good uses of sound effects. Like when the giant girl running and the ground starting making earthquake sounds, or CJ7 making sounds to accompany his imitated expressions. The music in the end scene, where CJ7 came back was happy, with disco tune. This represents happiness, and excitement. There was also the zoom in shot of the boy in the ending scene.
Overall, I’ve learned a lot doing this research project. I’ve things about my cultural and how cinema has evolved. I didn’t know that Cultural Revolution has caused the film industry to closed for a period of time. It was also interesting how when Cultural Revolution was over, a lot of film and tv series were based on it.