Show Less
Restricted access

Cinema in China prior to WWI

A Case Study of West-Eastern Culture Transfer

Meimei Xu

This book looks at the earliest history of exhibiting firms in China at the turn of the
century. The spread of cinema in China as a continuation of the lantern tradition is
contextualized and conventionalized in the late Qing sociopolitical milieu, featuring
a strong foreign monopoly and regional imbalance. However, the key element for
cinema’s development in China is Chinese audience per se.

“The book has produced something truly remarkable and tremendous.”
                                                                                                     —Frank Bren

“The work offers a lot of new insights into the history of the cinema in China. Though
the film business was brought from abroad to the mainland, the candidate was never
nationalistic in her approach to the phenomenon of foreign entertainment in China.”
                                                                                                     —Wolfgang Kubin

“The author painstakingly combed through a large number of historical newspapers,
especially English-language newspapers published both in and outside China, and
pieced together a convincing picture of the earliest history of Chinese cinema.”
                                                                                                       —Xuelei Huang 

Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Abstract

Extract



This book delineates cinema in China prior to WWI into five periods and interprets this section of history under references of up-to-date early film theories. The spreading of cinema is treated as a continuation of the lantern tradition, and is contextualized and conventionalized in the late Qing sociopolitical milieu. It synchronizes with the colonial process and Manchu government’s progressive reforms. The central argument here is that early cinema in China shows a developmental pattern, which bears a high similarity to Jean Piaget’s knowledge development, and is characteristic of intermediality and internationality. From a mechanic novelty to a mass medium, to a profitable commodity, although cinema in China begins as an attachment to other existing entertainments, after about two decades’ development its subjectivity has already been secured and an incipient film industry is formed in pre-war era, featuring a strong foreign monopoly and regional imbalance.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.