Trends in Chinese Cinema, Part IV

Trend Three: Period Drama and Co-production

"Bodyguards and Assassins" (Shí Yuè Wéi Chéng, 2009), directed by Teddy Chen, a co-production between mainland China and Hong Kong.

One bright spot in Chinese commercial cinema is co-production, particularly films co-produced by mainland China and Hong Kong. One reason as to why co-productions are gaining the momentum is because mainland China’s box-office is going up and co-productions are usually considered as “domestic” works, therefore not subject to the import quotas. To meet the censorship requirement in mainland China, most co-productions have to play it safe with subjects that revel in the distant and are heavily driven by actions. John Woo’s Red Cliff (Part I & II, 2008, 2009), Peter Chan’s The Warlords (2007), Teddy Chen’s Bodyguards and Assassins (2009), Qunshu Gao & Kuo-fu Chen’s The Message (2009), and Jackie Chan produced Little Big Soldier (2010) are only a few most visible examples of this trend. To some, this trend is quite worrisome: is Hong Kong cinema gradually losing its identity, or mainland Chinese cinema becoming more Hong Kong-nized? No matter what the answer might be, the integration of the film industries of mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan is destined to transform the landscape of Chinese-language cinema.

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