CCTV.com - CNTV English - CCTV News

Close shots of society

04-26-2012 10:29 BJT

One of the most anticipated activities during the ongoing Beijing International Film Festival is the screening of 260 movies in a single week, a diverse offering compared to current selections at theaters. Of the films, 21 are documentaries, including six from China. Documentary movies made in China tend to be sparse, compared to the mainstream, box office hits. But recent attention paid to documentaries signals a shift in the field.

clips from My Last Secret

Though few documentaries make significant profits, Chinese cinemas still make room for documentaries each year, both domestic and international productions. Documentaries such as The Bund (2010), Ocean (2011) and The Somalia Truth (2012) were all warmly welcome in China.

Documentary development

Domestic documentary filmmaking burgeoned in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Li Xiaofeng, an associate professor of College of Communication and Art at Tongji University, told Oriental Outlook magazine that the combination of US direct cinema and the French cinéma vérité, or real cinema, led to the transition of the field. Domestic, CCTV-made documentaries like The Silk Road and Recovering the Yangtze River were no longer the only models.

In China, film directors are usually grouped by generation. But there are no clear divisions of independent documentary filmmakers.

Documentary filmmakers Wu Wenguang, Duan Jingchuan, Jiang Yue and Zhang Yuan were key figures in cultivating the rise of this film genre in Beijing. They emphasized the key principles behind independent filmmaking: independent operation and independent thoughts.

Themes of documentaries evolved over time. In the 1990s, most documentary filmmakers went to remote regions like Xinjiang and Tibet to shoot. For example, Ji Dan spent a year in a Tibetan village, producing two documentaries, The Older and Gongbo's Happy Life.

About 10 years later, themes shifted from filming remote locations to focusing on societal issues and marginalized groups. Representative works of this period include Du Haibing's Along the Railway, which featured tramps living on a day-to-day basis, and Yang Lina's Old Men, which documented old Beijing men who devoted their youth to factory work.

Entering the new millenium, a younger generation of documentary filmmakers surfaced. Xu Qiangwu, born in 1984, explores post-modern themes in his films. Martian Syndrome tells the struggles of a man from Mars who visits Beijing. I Beat Tiger When I Was Young profiles a middle aged man, living in the memories of his faded youth.


Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program