Western Film Festival and Chinese Film

In the minds of many people, the Western International Film Festival is very different from Hollywood. It has a special mystery that seems to occupy the jurisdiction of international film arts and also keeps a distance from politics and business operations. But the facts are not exactly what people expected, because the Western International Film Festival behind the myth has its own political, commercial and artistic standards, which have had a considerable impact on Chinese films for more than a decade. The influence of the Western International Film Festival first determines what kind of film may be distributed and screened in Western art theaters, and therefore determines the image of Chinese movies that Western viewers may be exposed to.

For Western audiences, paying attention to the International Film Festival is not a pure entertainment, but a kind of humanistic care, an art tour, and a reconfirmation of self-superiority. The average Western Film Festival audience has little understanding of the diversity of Chinese films, so the single viewing interest caused by the film festival has a greater impact on this large number of people. Other major studies can be seen in the two main selection criteria of the Western Film Festival. First, the artistic pursuits that are different from the Hollywood style, such as the distinctive national characteristics, the difficult living conditions, or the refreshing audio-visual effects; Second, the ideological judgments of the European Center since the Cold War, such as the emphasis on human rights and democracy, the criticism of autocracy and dictatorship, and the humane care for the poor. These two standards have repeatedly appeared in the International Film Festival publications and related media reports, thus constantly giving Chinese films a “national fable” interpretation. In this respect, the Western Film Festival actually has many coincidences with the Hollywood tradition.

In the image of China produced in Hollywood, the early Chinese were nothing but incompetent coolies and servants. These films show the backward and barbaric China in the imagination of Westerners. It was not until Japan invaded China that Hollywood began producing films such as “The Earth” (1937), which was adapted from the novel, and praised the hard-working and brave images of rural women in China. However, due to long-term discrimination against aliens, the male and female protagonists still White plays, however, the film won the Oscar for Best Actress Award and also confirmed the American audience’s recognition of this new Chinese image. However, with the founding of New China, the image of China has become a dark society of centralized politics during the Cold War. Until 1997, Hollywood often produced films related to the Cold War, such as “The Red Corner.”


In fact, the political and artistic standards of the Western Film Festival are not static. In the early 1990s, most of the award-winning Chinese films were folklore and historical films, and the so-called underground movies were awarded since the late 1990s, the former promotes national fables, while the latter emphasizes the status quo. If the former image confirms the impression that the Western audience holds on Chinese culture that has been cultivated by Hollywood for a long time, the latter is at another level in line with the life experience of Western audiences.


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