A Few Issues Surrounding Research into the General History of Chinese Film
Abstract and Keywords
Abstract: The practice of film history highlights the value and significance of the researcher. A more comprehensive view of the situation of film history raises several issues. General research into the history of film is directly related to the production of film history. The question of how to reinvent general film history research is necessarily connected to ideologies, cultures, systems and concepts, as well as the broad scope and complexity of film history. Writing a general history of Chinese film demands a combination of innovation and continuing tradition, with an emphasis on the construction of a rational and scientific discipline of film history and historical empiricism. The aim should be a more rational history. The paper expresses my own thoughts and efforts with respect to relevant issues and attempts to deepen and open up general research into the history of Chinese film.
Keywords: innovation, general history of film, lines of depth, limitations, the third space
A Glimpse of the Article
At the end of 2016, General History of Chinese Film was published. This book organizes, analyses and explains the different stages of development of Chinese film since 1896 as understood by the author. It includes the analysis of films, filmmakers, historical elements of film style, as well as a review and elaboration of major events. At the same time, there is no lack of an analysis, grasp, and in-depth interpretation of the intersection between film ecology and cultural ecology in every historical period.
In trying to emphasize the construction of “line of depth” in film research and the empirical nature of history in the process of researching and writing the general history of Chinese films, one confronts a number of issues.
A prominent problem with respect to the “line of depth” of the general history of Chinese film, one that raises many doubts, is how to refer to Taiwanese and Hong Kong films.
Another problem is that the past 40 years of the history of Chinese film encompasses a great deal of content. The evaluation and judgement of contemporary Chinese films, which is the major focus of this research, are based on a complex multitude of materials and different understanding and perspectives.
The author of film history is not a self-indulgent time traveller, nor are they someone simply going their own way, engaging in casual experimentation. The truth and narrative of film history are often two sides of the same coin. The significance of the materials of an empirical film history and their use has changed in an increasingly open digital context. The rewriting and “revision” of film history offers different angles and perspectives that perhaps contain implicit biases. The true face of a general historical narrative exists in a third dimension that transcends those issues.
About the Author
Ding Yaping is the Director of the Film and Television Research Institute of the Chinese National Academy of Arts. He specializes in the history of Chinese film and is well known for his in-depth and profound research in Chinese Cinema. He has published more than 300 academic papers for leading conferences and journals and is the author of 12 books including General History of Chinese Film, Art and Culture Studies, Chinese Cinematic Art from 1945 to 1949, Classic Chinese Movies, Traces of Cinema: An Historical Perspective on Chinese Film, and History of Contemporary Chinese Films.
About the Translator
Jin Haina is a professor of translation, film and communication studies at the Communication University of China. Her research interests include film translation, translation history, and film history.