China on Film A Century of Exploration, Confrontation, and Controversy Synopsis
Leading scholar Paul G. Pickowicz traces the dynamic history of Chinese filmmaking and its stunning development decade-by-decade since the 1920s. During the last one hundred years, China has been embroiled in a seemingly unending series of wars, revolutions, and jarring social transformations. Despite daunting censorship obstacles, Chinese filmmakers have found ingenious ways of taking political stands and weighing in-for better or worse-on the most explosive social, cultural, and economic issues of the day. Exploring the often gut-wrenching controversies generated by their work, Pickowicz offers a unique and perceptive window on Chinese culture and society.
China on Film A Century of Exploration, Confrontation, and Controversy Press Reviews
China on Film is a kaleidoscope of history, film, politics, and personalities that scans a tumultuous landscape across nearly a hundred years. The range is marvelous. We consider overarching questions, but they are always brought to life in charming, concrete detail. We meet some major figures in culture and politics but bohemians and underground loners, too. We get our feet in China's earth but sense world currents as well. Our guide is a specialist insider, yet enough of an outsider that he can walk past taboos. As with any good kaleidoscope, this one sparkles at every turn. -- Perry Link, University of California, Riverside This collection of essays by one of our preeminent scholars of Chinese film history has given us a panoramic study of different facets of Chinese filmmaking and filmmakers: from early films made in 1920s Shanghai through each of the subsequent decades all the way to the sociopolitical dynamics of today's underground filmmaking. Each of the twelve chapters takes on a specific issue or theme and relates it to the historical context in which it arose. Altogether they form a cohesive framework and argument in which the author's passionate commitment to Chinese cinema and Chinese culture is felt on every page. -- Leo Ou-fan Lee, The Chinese University of Hong Kong This is the book on Chinese cinema that we have been waiting for. Few people have as deep and wide-ranging an understanding of Chinese film culture as Paul Pickowicz does. Admirably combining vigorous research and penetrating analysis, he provides us in this important book with an insightful, richly nuanced, and thought-provoking representation of the multivalent relations between popular cinema, social change, and political violence in China's recent history. Creatively organized around influential filmmakers, controversial films, or historiographical themes, and written in an engaging style, this is a must-read for anyone interested in twentieth-century Chinese culture and society. -- Fu Poshek, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign