Chinese Cinema

For my final essay I would like to discuss the transformation of Chinese theatre into film. It seems that transposing Chinese theatre onto film, even if under favorable cultural, political, and commercial conditions, it would still have had to overcome a host of aesthetic problems. Even though earlier attempts may have failed, the influence of xiren dianying persisted and penetrated into films that ostensibly disavowed their genetic ties with traditional Chinese theatre. Much of the aesthetic influence, which is manifested in the acting style, characterization, and plot development in many of the melodrama films of the 1930s and 1940s, continues to shape Chinese filmmaking generations later. According to Chris Berry and Mary Farquhar, all Chinese films may be divided into two broad categories: the operatic mode and the realist mode. Films in the operatic mode, argue Berry and Farquhar, are profoundly influenced by the aesthetics of Chinese theatre, even when the film narrative makes no obvious reference to theatre (Berry and Farquhar 2006:


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