Feng Xiaogang, New Year Films, and the transformation of Chinese film industry in the 1990s

Lu, Yi, Ph. D. in radio-television-film
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My thesis analyzes China’s most famous commercial film director, Feng Xiaogang, and his New Year Films against the background of infrastructure reform in the Chinese movie industry. The past three decades have witnessed dramatic changes in the Chinese film industry and phenomenal growth in commercial film production due to the movie industry reform that was launched by the Chinese government in order to commercialize the film industry. Feng Xiaogang is both a beneficiary and a contributor to the commercialization of the movie industry, and his unprecedented success in the movie industry also reflected the cultural changes within the film industry. This thesis first examines the transformation of the film industry due to the movie reform that allowed Feng Xiaogang to cross over from the television industry to the film industry, and the emergence of independent film companies also provided Feng with the opportunity to make commercial films. Next, I particularly analyze Feng’s first New Year film, The Dream Factory, which shows Feng’s approach of combining entertainment and social criticism in the film. Finally, I will analyze the popularity of his New Year films from an ‘auteur’ perspective.