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Thursday, October 10, 2002 - 19:30

The Three Golden Ages of Chinese Film

Professor Dai Xingyue, Art Department, Beijing University

Swiss Embassy

Chinese films have become well known, especially to the western public, during the past 20 years. Now directors such as Zhang Yimou, Cheng Kaige, Liu Wen or actress Gong Li are quite familiar names world over. Recent international film festivals awarded prizes to numerous Chinese films, but few know that the history of Chinese cinema dates back a hundred years to the time of Empress Dowager Cixi, in the late Qing dynasty, a mere 10 years after its very inception in Europe.

Professor Dai Xingyue of Beijing University's Art Department will trace back for us the history of Chinese film, which evolved very closely with the Chinese society in time and period. Its first golden age came in the mid-1930s; Prof. Dai characterizes it as "a combination of simple and realistic style with oriental poetic concept, forming a unique oriental school of film". It reached a new height in the late 40's (1946-49), with production of vigorous and powerful and yet touching patriotic films. Chinese film history also had its sad chapter in the Cultural Revolution period but the downfall of the Gang of Four ushered in a flourishing period of contemporary Chinese films, known to Chinese film-connoisseurs as the ‘Fifth Generation’. During the lecture we will be shown various passages from Chinese films from very old to present day.