Modern films must capture Chinese stories and dream

By By Li Chun / 01-22-2015 / (Chinese Social Sciences Today)


Photographers attend the National College Student Photo and Microfilm Contest titled “My Chinese Dream, Beautiful China” on May 12, 2013.


In recent years, China’s film market has grown rapidly and attracted more viewers. Going to the cinema has become a popular recreational choice for many people. Many Chinese films have achieved box-office success, yet there have been growing voices of criticism both in the media and among viewers about the standard of homegrown films.

The quality of a film can be judged by its ability to satisfy viewers’ artistic and aesthetic expectations, and its ability to provide viewers with “positive power” in life. 

Currently, the main reason for society’s dim view of domestic films is that there isn’t a sound industrial distribution pattern in China’s domestic film production.

China’s film industry is attaching greater importance to audience demands, which is a natural consequence of the industry’s development. However, satisfying audience expectations is a gradual process.

Telling Chinese stories and depicting the “Chinese dream” should be the primary objectives of filmmakers. Society was shaky and unstable years ago in China, placing great burden on writers and artists. In the new era, filmmakers have greater responsibility.

Moreover, Chinese filmmaking has long been regarded as insular and rendered as “third-world film” or “oriental film” by the international community. After 1949, there was a push for the nationalization of films. In the new era, telling Chinese stories and the “Chinese dream” in films has profound cultural and social significance.

First, the changing world order and China’s rapid development poses new challenges to China’s literary and artistic creation. A new reality and new experiences require new perspectives to express new discoveries and explore new rules, ultimately telling new Chinese stories.

Second, Chinese people are also facing a richer, more complex reality. It is important for literary and artistic creation to respond to mainstream life experiences, and to convey and transmit “positive power” and value.

China’s generation born in the reform and opening-up era forms the main actors in today’s society. They bring new momentum to Chinese culture with their unique life experiences, international vision, new value system and aesthetic judgment, and their stories are new subjects for filmmakers.

To tell Chinese stories is a process of capturing, analyzing, constructing and creating, which involves filmmakers’ exploration of cinematic forms and styles. There should be consideration of changing values in this transition phase of society behind such exploration.

Values of characters in films can serve as a compass for society. Value orientation should be in compliance with social objectives and ideals, and should reflect people’s daily emotional and behavioral experiences.

To tell Chinese stories and depict the “Chinese dream” is to provide a window into China’s reality, culture, attitude and emotion, and to express the Chinese people’s value system to the world.

In an era of globalization, telling Chinese stories through film should adopt a global perspective. The “Chinese dream” should be rooted in each individual’s life experience, which reflects a trend of the current age and embodiment of social development. It is also an inevitable choice of the film industry and essential requirement for the creation of films as a means of communication.