What do you actually mean by “Chinese cinema”?
This is definitely a difficult question to answer, as it gets into questions of politics and identity that whilst incredibly important are not that main focus of this blog. To make it clear, this blog will focus on the cinema of Greater China, that is Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. That’s not to say that cinema produced outside of these regions will not be looked at on occasion, but it will not be the main focus.
But X is not a part of China!
We are very understanding of the delicate nature of politics and identity in the region, but for simplicity and to avoid confusion amongst those less familiar, we decided to go with this name. There are many brilliant blogs, books and articles written on the various subjects for those interested in that aspect.
Why do you use traditional characters / pinyin / not pinyin?
Though not important to most people, this is definitely a style choice on our part. We are based in Taiwan and use traditional characters daily. Either is fine to use, based on personal preference. Equally, pinyin is more familiar to us. Name’s will be transcribed in pinyin unless there is a stated preference in materials to use a different form of romanisation, or an English name. We provide a Chinese name with all romanisations for clarity.
Why do you differentiate between putonghua 普通話 and guoyu 國語?
These are the preferred terms in mainland China and Taiwan, respectively. The language is the same aside from minor differences, and so they are both referred to as Mandarin in English.
Why should we care about Chinese cinema？
There’s two ways to look at this.
- Almost 1.4 billion people. Yet the awareness and exposure to the intimate insights cinema brings is much lower than that of other Asian countries (including India, Japan, Korea). The peoples of Greater China also represent a vast array of cultures and ways of life within a framework that to most western eyes is “Chinese culture”, despite the many differences between them. We are often led to believe that to be Chinese is all the same, through the limited exposure that the western media gives to Chinese perspective and voices beyond the expected stereotypes. Thus Chinese cinema is a fantastic window into this very large part of our world, with a both long and fascinating history.
- The Eurocentric view. Even if you have zero interest in politics, you’ve probably heard over and over again about the “Rise of China”. There is a well-known video on YouTube of Donald Trump repeatedly saying China. What it means and doesn’t mean, people have written many books on the subject. Quite literally. When it comes to films, even if you hate watching films in another language and can’t think why Chinese cinema would ever be relevant to you – Well, Chinese companies are buying Western film groups. Films are being made for the Chinese market, which is both big and growing. This is already having a real impact on the films you’re going to see at the cinema.
Can I write for the blog?
Absolutely, if you have any ideas for articles or reviews for films that you would like to submit, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
As we are just starting, we are unable to pay for articles, but we sincerely hope that as the blog grows we will be able to pay for contributions.
I would like you to do an article on X/Y/Z
Please send all enquiries/requests to email@example.com