CULS30002 Lecture 4: Lecture 4: Globalisation and its Discontents in China's Sixth Generation Cinema

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Cultural Studies
Course Code
Dr.Dan Edwards

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CULS30002 21/03/16 Lecture 4 Globalisation and its Discontents in China’s Sixth Generation Cinema Position of cinema in contemporary China Was is meant by ‘Sixth Generation’ Consider the conditions that exist for filmmakers, media and cultural workers in contemporary China Consider what ‘independent’ filmmaking means in Chinese context The ways in which 6 Gen films reflect the experience of rapid but uneven globalisation in post-socialist China Many have questioned the term ‘Sixth Generation ’ Lucid term – more vague than the Fifth Generation Not so much common style but common context in which they began to work 1990s – beginning of tumultuous set of transformations Key features of China’s transformation since the early 1990s Ruling party made more deliberate decisions to shape Chinese culture Greater emphasis on shaping cultural context produced through official channels than in 1980s, albeit mostly by indirect means Blamed liberalisation of culture for protests in 1989 Greater emphasis in education on need for singly ruling party Previous emphasis on class struggle removed and replaced by emphasis on China’s ‘victimisation’ by hand of foreign powers Scope of debate restricted But wider range of programming on TV – driven by marketization and commercialisation of economy Chinese economy has been increasingly marketised and commercialised since the resumption of economic reforms in 1992 Towering heights of the economy have remained in state hands through state -owned corporations Marketisation has not meant privatisation CCP has direct and decisive role in corporate sector – retained majority ownership in nation’s largest companies in strategic sectors Also retain ownership of major cultural institutions But organisation not social ist work units – state owned corporations or state owns majority Fully capitalistic enterprises – compete with each other, turn over profit Chinese Cinema since Early 1990s State-owned film studios remain basis of Mainland Chinese industry State film studies now operate as gov’t-owned corporations, expected to turn profit Filmmakers no longer employees, generally work on project -by-project basis Generally have to raise fund from range of sources Have to make a profit to keep making films China’s film viewing become high marketised, commercial cinemas have replaced community-based film screenings Filmmakers must work under nominal supervision of state -owned film studios Must have quota number to be released, only state -owned studios have this number Film story must be submitted to film authority – must be approved Finished product must be shown again to film authority Direct controls have lessened, but censorship remains pervasive AS Chinese economy has been marketised, consumer goods more easily acces sibly Making films outside state -sanctioned channels became possible for first since since 1949 Earliest ‘independent’ films – Bumming in Beijing – The Last Dreams (Documentary, Wu Wenguang, 1990), Mama (Zhang Yuan, 1990) Zhang Yuan – made without state ap proval, sent to film festivals Beijing Bastards – critics in west started talking about 6 Gen th ‘underground status’ Directors accused of adapting to title of 6 th Gen created by Western critics Career move to attract foreign financing and becoming est. i nternationally Deep anxiety in Chinese critical circles with China’s relationship with the rest of the world New kinds of films made mostly by new group of filmmakers Some made with gov’t approval, some without More accurate to be l
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