movies and Hollywood
the beginning, it wasn't obvious. Just the occasional
appearance of Jacky Chan in minor roles in Hollywood productions
in the 1980s.
in the late 90s to the early 21st century, the avalanche of Chinese
film and movie talents started moving to Hollywood in droves.
These included acclaimed directors such as John Woo (Face
Off; Broken Arrow), Lee Ang (Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Incredible Hulk; Brokeback Mountain),
actor Chow Yuen Fatt (Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon; The Killer), actress Zhang
Zhi Yi (Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon; The Geisha) martial arts director, Woo
Yeun Ping (Matrix; Kill Bill), actor/director Jacky
Knights; Rush Hour) and many others.
Chinese film talents is a staple in Hollywood as even the greatly
talented Hollywood needed to turn to the Chinese speaking movie
making world to refresh it's repertoire
of filming ideas and creativity. As of this writing, these Chinese
talents are still in high demand. Not only are their talents
in high demand but also highly recognized as they are also winning
many filming prizes including major Oscar and Academy awards.
addition, Chinese talents were not only involved in typical Kung-Fu
or martial arts movies but also in science-fiction such as The
Hulk and The Matrix, sentimental movies such as Brokeback Mountain
and The Geisha.
of Chinese Movies
like early black and white movies in the Western world, Chinese
film making began in the early 20th century starting with black
and white silent movies. China had always had very active opera
and stage performance even before movies were introduced and
for such opera and stage performances to be moved into the celluloid
world was not really that difficult.
those early days, film making concentrated around Shanghai and
the first Chinese movie stars were also from Shanghai. Shanghai
was in those days what Hong Kong is to Chinese movies, Hollywood
to America and Bombay to India movie making for today.
made in that era were mostly Chinese opera brought to film, romance
stories and the occasional martial arts movie. Many of these
movies did very well commercially and Chinese movie starts became
household names. These include Zhou Xuan and Ling Dai.
war II came along and like everything else, Chinese movie making
industry basically ginded to a halt other than making basically
propaganda war movies for the Kuomingtang Chinese government
at that time.
the end of World War II, moving making made a come-back. Surprisingly,
the centre of movie making wasn't in Shanghai, China anymore.
Path of Chinese Movie History
the war, Chinese movie making hit a doldrum in the 50s as China
was extremely poor in those days as well as being in the throes
of a civil war. However, as life reaches relative peace, movie
making started making a comeback.
movies in the 1960s-1970s
now, China was in the hands of the communists. Chinese movies
started taking on a strong cultural and socialist identity and
the story-line invariably revolved around the war struggles against
Japan or social struggles against a capitalistic China.
the same time, many people in the movie making industry had escaped
to Hong Kong during and after the war. This led to the birth
of another movie making cluster that started out in Hong Kong.
At that time, these movie making talents were also strongly influenced
by the class struggles going on in China and many movie themes
were also around the areas of social and cultural struggles of
the Chinese society.
in Hong Kong also began cranking out martial arts and other films
one after the other. Many of these films were
loosely based on popular novels and storybooks. Production quality
was low, acting was mediocre and the actors and actresses were
not really trained in martial arts even if acting in martial
for the poor Chinese societies of those difficult period, devoid
of other low
these movies were doing very well at the box-office providing
cheap and mindless entertainment.
movies in the 1970s-1980s
1970 to 1980 were the heydays of Chinese movie making. Large
film studios and movie-making companies began to form in Hong
Kong. At the same time, the first Chinese movie legend, Bruce
went on to make movies for Hong Kong studios and Hollywood that
literally swept Asia and the rest of the world into a Kung Fu
the death of Bruce Lee in 1973, Chinese movie making reaches
it's peak of that decade and then went into a decline. During
this period of time, movie making went into the doldrums in mainland
China as nothing but propaganda movies were made during those
cultural revolution upheaval period.
Taiwan, a small but fledging movie making industry was slowly
taking off. Movies made from Taiwan during this period were mostly
romance movies. A few Taiwanese actors and actresses such as
Lin Chin Hsia and Lin Feng Chiao, achieved great fame across
societies and countries during
this period of time.
movies in the 1980s-1990s
was the golden era but also the most commercially exploited era
of Chinese movie making. There was a flood of Chinese movies
ranging from martial arts, to love stories, to slapstick comedies,
to Hollywood copycats as investors and movie makers seek the
golden target from a finicky
were some commercial success but most movie ventures lost money.
Breaking the trend of Chinese movie flops was Jacky
a up and coming martial art actor who laced his kung-fu movies
hugh dose of humor and sometimes slapstick. His movies became
best sellers across Asia.
the same period, Tsui Hark, another great Hong
Kong director, directed and produced a few blockblusters around
of an early Kung Fu master, Wong Fei Hong. He also brought to
fame Jet Li, a top martial arts champion from
China, who was the key actor for many of his movies.
led to a revival of martial arts movies, which had went into
a downtrend ever since the death of Bruce Lee in 1973. Not only
were Chinese martial arts movies a great showcase for Chinese
kung Fu, many of them had gripping storyline, great acting, strong
production and strong social themes.
the same time, up and coming talented directors and actors were
coming out from mainland China as commercial film takes on
a viability in China. Taiwan film makers were also introducing
good directors and actors/directors.
only did many of these Chinese movies took Chinese speaking society
by storm, they also took Asia and eventually the rest of the
Chinese movie making talent had arrived on the world stage.
more information about Chinese way of life and to prevent cultural
shock, check out this interesting China
Book. Or email
us for further information.