Category: China Film

China Film
May 16, 2020

Changchun Film Studio  

The Changchun Film Studio was the first official state-run film studio recognized in the People’s Republic of China. It was created through merging multiple existing film production facilities and, in 1955, was given a permanent home in Changchun. For several decades, the studio occupied a cluster of buildings which had been constructed under the Japanese occupation to imitate the German Ufa Film Studio. The studio reportedly produced over 1000 feature films over the years. The film Bridge was made here in 1949, the PRC’s first feature film, which told the story of a worker who inspires his comrades to finish […]

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China Film
May 9, 2020

Hengdian: The World’s Largest Film Studio  

Xie Jin was one of the most important film directors of the Communist cinema generation working in the 1950s and early 1960s. His 1965 film Two Stage Sisters would later go on to receive international acclaim, but at the time, at the start of the Cultural Revolution, it was attacked for purportedly promoting bourgeois values. Xie was eventually rehabilitated and went on to make other important films, including Legend of Tianyun Mountain and Hibiscus Town. In 1995, Xie, now in his 70s, was scouting locations for a State-supported historical epic titled The Opium War. With a budget of $15 million, […]

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China Film
Mar 1, 2020

Republic of China on Taihu Lake  

The awkwardly named ‘Jiangsu West Taihu Lake Film and Television Industry Base‘ in Changzhou, northwest of Shanghai, is relatively new, established in 2015. It reportedly cost over $110 million to build and includes 7 indoor sound stages and 150 acres of outdoor sets and other facilities. The site is especially known for its use in Republic of China era TV series, and most of the outdoor lot consists of streets of early 20th century urban streetscapes. The 2019 film Liberation, which received a very limited US release in January 2020, was made there, along with TV dramas Detective Ke Chen […]

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China Film
Feb 25, 2020

Farewell My Film Studio  

The Beijing Film Studio was created in 1949 as one of the primary state-run film production facilities. The studio was responsible for classic films such as New Year’s Sacrifice (1956) and Song of Youth (1959). Later, the studio constructed a traditional Chinese streetscape on a backlot near the university district in Beijing, reportedly used for 1982 films Rickshaw Boy and Teahouse. It also became the first studio to open up to international co-productions with Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor in 1987, which also received permission to film within the Forbidden City. In the early 1980s, former Taiwanese film star Feng […]

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China Film
Feb 20, 2020

Huzhou Film and Television City  

Huzhou Film and Television City, located within the Taihu National Tourism Resort, is just as much about family entertainment as it is about film production. When I visited, the entire park staff assembled out front for a song and dance routine before the doors opened. Tourist shows occur throughout the day, including an acrobatic police chase (pictured), axe gang choreography inspired by Kung Fu Hustle, and a fictional wedding ceremony. The first portion of the park, representing Republic of China era Shanghai, was constructed in 2016. It includes the Bund, a port, a Catholic church, and other large scale buildings. […]

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China Film
Feb 16, 2020

Xiangshan Film and TV City  

The Xiangshan studios opened in 2005 on an undeveloped peninsula of fishing villages south of Ningbo for The Return of the Condor Heroes (2006), based on the Wuxia novel by Jin Yong. The site was also used for Chen Kaige’s historical drama Sacrifice (2010) and for the popular TV series Nirvana in Fire (2015). A Republic of China section added later was used in the ill-fated WWII film Air Strike with Bruce Willis. The production was hampered by delays, cost overruns, and a tax evasion scandal involving actress Fan BingBing before it was widely panned by critics.

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China Film
Feb 10, 2020

Zhenbeipu Western Film Studio  

Constructed on the ruins of an old fortress outside Yinchuan in northwestern China near the edge of the Gobi desert, the Western Film Studio has been used in numerous epic historical films. Writer Zhang Xianliang first had the idea to use the site as a film location after spending time laboring on a nearby farm during the Cultural Revolution. The 1982 film The Herdsman, based on a story by Zhang, was the first feature film made here and one of the first Chinese films to get international recognition. Other noteworthy films shot here include Zhang Yimou’s Red Sorghum (1987), Hong […]

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China Film
Jan 10, 2020

Shiqiu Film and Television Base  

The local Shiqiu town government, outside Nanjing, took on the cost of constructing a Roman Catholic cathedral for Zhang Yimou’s Flowers of War (2011) starring Christian Bale. As the Japanese army overtakes Nanjing, the church becomes a refuge and hiding place for 13 schoolgirls, 12 prostitutes, an American mortician (played by Bale), and a boy who had been adopted by the priest (now dead). Despite generous explosions and gunfire throughout the film, the church survives, and today it sits in the middle of a landscaped green lawn. The site failed to attract other large-scale productions but is still used for […]

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China Film
Jan 7, 2020

The Eight Hundred (八百)  

The Eight Hundred (八百), an $80 million war film directed by Guan Hu, was slated to be one of the most anticipated releases of 2019. However, at the last minute its debut as the opening film at the Shanghai International Film Festival was cancelled a planned July theatrical release put on hold. No explanation was offered at the time, but commentators suspect that the film ran into problems with government censors. While the film tells a seemingly patriotic story, based on a classic battle in which a band of Chinese soldiers held off the Japanese advance on Shanghai from a […]

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China Film
Jan 2, 2020

Huayi Brothers Movie World  

Huayi Brothers Movie World opened July 2018 in Suzhou, China, after six years of construction and at a cost of over $50 million. Like Disneyland or Universal Studios, the sprawling theme park is based around the company’s most popular films, such as the Detective Dee series. The park includes five major themed areas, including a Tang Dynasty palace and a Civil War-era courtyard complex, along with merchandise shops at every corner. One of the highlights is a live action show where the audience can watch how action on the stage is transformed, through multiple cameras and live editing, into a […]

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