Commercial renaissance of Chinese cinema : movie industry reforms, Chinese blockbusters, and film consumption in a global age
In the 2000s, Chinese film industry, the most important propaganda apparatus of the Chinese Communist Party, was transformed into a commercial culture industry and became the second largest film market in the world. This project is a formal, cultural and industrial analysis of the transformation of the Chinese film industry and the corresponding changes in production culture due to a new wave of movie industry reforms starting in the late 1990s. By placing Chinese cinema in the world scene within globalization, this dissertation addresses the following research questions: How did the Chinese state undertake movie industry reforms and accelerate them in the 2000s? How did industrial transformation and commercialization influence filmmaking practices in terms of mode of production, genre, and narrative? To what extent were Chinese practitioners impacted by these state-directed reforms and shaped by market forces? To what extent did Hollywood’s commercial films influence Chinese cinema? With an integrated framework combining political economy, cultural studies, media industry studies, and film studies, Commercial Revitalization of Chinese Cinema considers China’s movie industry reform and industry transformation as culture phenomena. Three case studies of the industrial transformations in this project reveal China’s unique approaches to reviving its national film industry and building film as a type of soft power. It also illustrates an interesting media reform model substantially different from that of Hollywood and other national cinemas. I argue that China’s political economy and its special political, social and cultural histories are determinant in enabling the movie industry reform to develop a hybrid culture industry model that combines China’s experience in SOEs (State-Owned Enterprises) reform and Hollywood’s commercial film business model. As a result of industry transformation and structural changes, the emerging Chinese blockbuster production became a dominant mode of production, which localized and transformed generic and aesthetic conventions found in other film cultures as a dynamic interaction between global and local cultural exchanges.