Significance of Hollywood in Influencing Chinese Filmmaking since the 1980s.

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Cinema in China has been experiencing a series of institutional reformations since the mid-eighties to address the demands of the market created by the Chinese government (Zhang, 2012, p. 162). The consequence has been the devolution and commercialization of the film industry that had been previously subsidized by the state. Competition with blockbusters that had been imported for the local market share has inspired some of the filmmakers in China to turn to Hollywood as a source of inspiration. This has led to an imitation of the big-budget and high-tech entertainment ideas that are synonymous with Hollywood. The resultant increase in local entertainment fare has created countrywide romanticism among the cultural detractors as well as some industrial practitioners as they prefer a cinema that is characterized by more cultural importance. Filmmaking in China is therefore trapped between economic ambitions in order to capture the local market that is occupied by imports especially from Hollywood and cultural ambitions to create films that have Chinese physiognomies. The present tension between nationalism and commercialization is similar to the events of the development of the Chinese cinema between 1922 and 1931 when competition from Hollywood shadowed the local screens.

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The irregular interaction between nationalism and commercialism is especially prominent during the periods when Hollywood dominates (Rojas and Chow, 2013, p. 554). In some instances hostile, while facing threats from Hollywood, nationalism supports the protection of China’s cultural identity through safeguarding its domestic cultural market. Conversely, commercialization provides a strategic solution for regaining market share through the production of popular entertainment cinemas. When considered from this point of view, nationalism assists in justifying the growth of commercialization, but the latter ultimately motivates the rebirth of nationalism. This is the case of the first and most current entertainment cinema waves from China that is characterized by the vigorous interplay between nationalization and commercialization that is evident in its industrial practices and Chinese genres.

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