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Electric Shadows: A Century of Chinese Cinema

‘Electric Shadows: A Century of Chinese Cinema’ is an introduction to the long and illustrious history of Chinese cinema.
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Electric Shadows: A Century of Chinese Cinema is an introduction to the long and illustrious history of Chinese cinema, from the earliest silent films through the glamour and invention of Shanghai’s golden age in the 1930s, from the restrictions of the Cultural Revolution to the grand renaissance of the ‘Fifth Generation’ directors in the 1980s, and from the underground, independent spirit of the 1990s to the booming multiplex cinema of the present. Along the way it tells the parallel stories of Hong Kong and Taiwan’s cinema, and, of course, China’s great genre cinema, from ‘wuxia’ swordplay epics and kung fu spectacles to crime thrillers and eerie ghost tales. Through a range of lavishly illustrated new essays, written by many of the foremost authorities in the field, the fascinating, dramatic history of Chinese cinema is revealed.

With writing from Chris Berry, Michael Berry, Peggy Chiao, Tony Rayns, Bérénice Reynaud, Yingjin Zhang, John Berra, Kevin B. Lee, Yuqian Yan, Victor Fan, Peter Rist, Grady Hendrix, Cui Zi’en, Li Zhen, Edward Anderson and Robin Baker. Additional contributions from filmmakers Tsui Hark, Jia Zhangke, Ann Hui, Feng Xiaogang and Stanley Kwan.


1. 'From the Shadow Play to Electric Shadows' by Victor Fan 

'Boxers and barbers: film in the late Qing dynasty' by Edward Anderson and Robin Baker

2. 'The Second Generation' by Tony Rayns

3. 'The Seventeen Years Period' by Kevin B. Lee

4. 'The Cultural Revolution in Chinese Cinema' by Chris Berry

'A Brief History of Chinese Animation' by Li Zhen

5. 'The Fifth Generation and the New Cinema of the 1980s' by Michael Berry

6. 'Independent Filmmaking in China' by Tony Rayns

7. 'Swordplay, Kung Fu, Gangsters and Ghosts' by Grady Hendrix

8. 'Chinese Documentary Filmmaking' by Kevin B. Lee and Yuqian Yan

9. 'The "New Woman" Question in Chinese Cinema' by Berenice Reynaud

The Evolution of Chinese Queer Cinema by Cui Zi'en with Michael Berry

10. 'Chinese Popcorn: Multiplex Cinema of the 2000s' by John Berra

11. 'Hong Kong: From the Silents to the Second Wave' by Peter Rist

12. 'A Brief History of Taiwanese Cinema' by Peggy Chiao

'Film Stars and stardom in China' by Yingjin Zhang

Additional Information
More Information
SKU 9781844578498
Subtitle A Century of Chinese Cinema
Publisher(s) BFI
Editor(s) James Bell
Format Paperback
Original publication date 3 July 2014
Number of pages 140
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