Indie Chinese Film and How It Portrays the Culture

Indie Chinese Film and How It Portrays the Culture

The industry of digital marketing Malaysia is completely different to the digital marketing and film industry in China. This huge population and competition in China brought up different working and entertainment cultures there. There are lots of high quality and interesting Chinese films that perfectly highlights the difference. In this post, there are lots of Chinese cultural elements that are being portrayed in some Chinese Indie films. When watching a film, we could learn more and understand more especially regarding their culture and the hidden message. Let’s take a look at two of the featured Chinese films that need more recognition. 

First Film: Yi Yi (2000)

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This film revolves around the Jian family. One of the obvious themes that the film portrayed is family-themed. Watch this family with your friends and family during the family night film or even during Chinese New Year, they would love it. 

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The plot shows the development of the family story which starts with a wedding and concludes with a funeral. It shows the cycle of life and the reality of human life in between. The family theme is strongly present throughout the film showing family members tied upon with each other and they deal with good and bad events together. So, that is the hidden message. They lived in Taipei so the shooting locations are mostly in-studio or Taipei-based locations like the nearby roads. 

Feng-shui is one of the beliefs that the Chinese family practices. Some of the scenes in the film are used by the director to show life before the start of the 21st century. For instance, Ying-Ying, at his uncle’s wedding banquet, gets a new toy camera, and he begins to record all the events around him. This shows the phenomenon that will happen in the 21st century within society that people will be fond of their gadgets. He was wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt which shows a symbol of the growing impact of the West in the mainstream part of the world. For the production design in the film, the colour palette involved and can be seen as prominent is red colour. 

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The red colour in Chinese culture is considered as the colour for happiness, success and good fortune. The colour can be seen from the decor in the Jian family house. For instance, the red packet, the sofa and the frame are some of the red colours put into their house. Chinese really believe in luck (Yùnqì), that is why the groom postpone the wedding so much because they want to choose an auspicious wedding date according to the couple’s zodiac signs. As for the sounds in the film, there are two sounds; diegetic and non-diegetic sounds. Obviously, diegetic sounds come from the dialogue of the actor and actresses in the film. There is music that comes from the singing of the group in the karaoke room where they gathered and sang together. One of the famous soundtracks added in the film was the well-known Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata that was performed by Kaili Peng.

Second film: The Killer (1989)

This film genre is drama, action, and suspense crime genre with Jeffrey as the main character. Even though the film was produced in Hong Kong, the film style was heavily influenced by the Western-style. This can be seen by the actions that happened constantly throughout the film and the adaptation towards certain scenes. 

The director of the film, John Woo, uses Christian imagery and often inserted Christian captures as he is Christian. The church is one of the prominent places shown in the film. One of the prominent scenes in the film is the final gun battle in the church. Woo actually illustrated the scene as a war between humans and heaven, in this case, represented by the tranquillity and peace of the church turning into hell. 

Then, John Woo also portrays certain symbols in the film. Animals is one of the symbols used. For example, doves are used in certain scenes where it represents the spirits of the people. There were also cats and pigeons seen in the film. There is a belief in Chinese culture, where a cat comes into a home during night time is a sign of ruin and poverty for its inhabitants so when the cat enters Jennie’s living room at night, it shows negative signs to her.

 It is a sign that Jeffrey is the shooter that accidentally shot the bullet and damaged Jennie’s eyes and he entered the house. Of course, Jennie did not suspect anything. 

Since it is a crime genre film, the production design involved lots of guns. There are a variety of firearms shown in several scenes like the Swiss Arms Classic Green, Revolver, Shotgun and AK-47. Some of the sound’s effects used are gunshots, cat sounds, and tires screeching. As for the wardrobe used by Jeffrey, he mostly uses suits or button-up shirts to show the manly side of the assassin. Detective Li Ying is mostly seen wearing suits or formal shirts to show the professionalism of a detective. Overall, the film has over-the-top gunfights and has the charm of 80’s macho-action drama that viewers would seek. The plot and the cinematic expression are suitable and easily grasped.  

That is it for this post. I highly recommend watching this film with your family and friends. Happy watching and enjoying your films.