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Transnationalization of Chinese Action Films - Essay Example

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Chinese cinema has always held a special place in world cinema due to its specific modes of direction and production, and due to the particular genre of wuxia (Stephen Teo) that is the bedrock of Chinese cinema. Films based on this genre have always followed a special track, or formula that has set them aside from the other more commercial films made by, say the Hollywood, or by Eastern cinema…
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Transnationalization of Chinese Action Films
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Download file to see previous pages This shift in the film paradigm is known as the transnationalism of Chinese cinema (Stephen Teo).
This paper studies the transnationalism of Chinese cinema through the examination of four movies, namely, Enter the Dragon, Face/Off, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and One Night in Mongkok. These films will be our case studies in determining the extent and nature of transnationalism that the Chinese cinema has underwent ever since the advent of cinematic change in the late 1920's (Stephen Teo).
The first film to be studied is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the directorial project of Ang Lee, released in the USA on 9 December 2003 (IMBD 2004). This film is the best example to study the modern day Chinese cinema, due to the strategies that Ang Lee employed in making this film. The Chinese film industry has always been aware that their stories and culture is essentially oriental (Stephen Teo), that is, it can only be clearly and absolutely understood by the locals and the Asian market. With the expanding economic system and increased global interactions, the need was felt for the films to cater to a wide variety of audience, and such audience might not necessarily be from the Chinese land. This meant that the traditions and cultures shown in the Chinese cinema had to be produced in such a way that audiences from other cultural backgrounds, particularly the Americans (Stephen Teo), could easily comprehend them. In other words, the films should have the ability to be culturally "translated" (Stephen Teo).
Some efforts had been made before to achieve this goal, however, all those movies depended on the concept of oriental postmodernism (Stephen Teo) to make the movie more globally understandable. This model essentially depended on portraying the complex culture to the modern market in a way that showed the modern Asian concept of Orientalism (Stephen Teo). What Crouching Tiger brought with it was a change in the treatment and the thinking behind the film; it focused more on globalization than postmodernism (Stephen Teo). Hence, it was more flexible (Stephen Teo) and could be easily translated and transcended into the diverse cultures worldwide.
Crouching Tiger did not simply rely on the tried and tested wuxia norms of Chinese cinema, nor did it try to promote the kung fu culture always prevalent in Chinese cinema (Stephen Teo). That said, it is not true that Crouching Tiger did not portray the intrinsic martial art culture of China. In fact, coming from a Chinese background, Ang Lee had to cater to a Chinese audience at home, and so it was imperative that should include local ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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