Evolution of access to films: some examples

The opening of China, combined with technological progress, has for fifteen years, disrupted access to ancient Chinese films. We went from the scarcity that was still de rigueur at the end of the 1990s, the abundance of films spanning years 1920 to today. The editions in VCD then on DVD, and now the movies available on some Chinese streaming sites allow you to review films previously only visible in your country during rare retrospectives. Films forgot or ignored stories of cinema Chinese have been rediscovered. Others, considered forever gone there still a few years old, are now available in VCD or DVD. Entire collections of films have been published, such as the 80 films 1920 to 1940 offered in VCD in China. A visit to 123movies makes things perfect.


What history of Chinese cinema?

Communication or all the Shaw Brothers films restored and partly published in your country by Wild Side. Finally, the Chinese YouTube offers to stream and to the whole world, as long as we master Chinese, films from the People’s Republic, Taiwan or Hong Kong from the 1930s to the present. The changes have been so significant in recent years that it is useful to take stock of the available offer.

Editions in VCD and DVD

In the early 2000s, a Cantonese company, Beauty Culture Communication, released a collection of 80 films in VCD from the 1920s to 1940s entitled “Beginning of Chinese Cinema” including the main films of this period already widely known to specialists and enthusiasts, and a few more rare films. Similar collections had already been edited before but they weren’t as completed one. The collection offered by Beauty Culture Communication includes the oldest Chinese films preserved as Romance a street vendor (Zhi guo yuan, Zhang Shichuan 1922) and The Western Chamber (Xi xiang ji Hou Yao 1927), the classics such as The Divine (Shen nü, Wu Yonggang 1934), The Road (Dalu, Sun Yu 1934) and Les Anges du Boulevard (Ma lu tian shi, Yuan Muzhi 1937), some films from the Japanese occupation period as Wu Zetian (Wu Zetian, Fang Peilin 1939) and Le Rêve in the red flag (Hong lou meng, Bu Wancang 1944), and finally films made between 1947 and 1949 like Printemps dans une petite city ​​(Xiao cheng zhi chun Fei Mu 1948). Some of the movies which appear in this catalog were previously known but had been little or not seen.

Thus, sickening neighbors (E lin or Eternal regrets Sheng si hen, Fei Mu 1948), whose quality of proposed images is very poor (no restoration has been undertaken, hadn’t been edited before. Films like A Branch of prunus (Yi jian mei 1931) or The Little Toy (Xiao wan yi Sun Yu 1932) are absent from the collection but had already edited in VCD and other movies like Blood on the Volcano.

After Cai Chusheng, Xie Jin, one of the representatives of “third-generation” directors, continued the educational spirit of Chinese cinema. After the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), Xie Jin resorted to the theme of family ethics so that people would heal the wounds that political events had inflicted on them and reflect on this dramatic event. The “traditional” viewer was won over, and Xie’s films were very well received by the public. At the end of the XX century, according to an opinion poll conducted in Beijing and Shanghai by the company Horizon, there were still 25% of viewers who chose Xie Jin as the most popular director.