Besides my Napa trip, my summer was also highlighted by a semi-academic talk I delivered on contemporary Chinese cinema at the gathering of the Long Beach Chapter of the US-China People’s Friendship Association, an organization initiated by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Titled “Current Trends and New Directions in Chinese Cinema,” my talk delineated six major lines that seem to be able to sketch out the general picture of contemporary Chinese cinema, namely:
Integration of Hollywood & China
Playing the “Main Melody:” Propaganda Films with a New Look
Rise of Comedy, particularly Rom-Com
Period Drama and Co-productions (avoiding contemporary issues)
Chinese Indies Go International (limited market access in China)
I concluded my talk with a note that is shared by many China scholars: Chinese cinema has become a battling ground for three contradictory forces in Chinese society: artistic vision and freedom of expression, commercial concerns, and politics (Party/State politics, not in symbolic terms). Therefore, understanding Chinese cinema is also an understanding of contemporary Chinese society.