Cinema of China

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The Chinese-language cinema has three distinct historical threads: Cinema of Hong Kong, Cinema of China, and Cinema of Taiwan. After 1949 and until recent times, the cinema of mainland China operated under restrictions imposed by the Communist Party of China. Some films with political overtones are still censored or banned in China itself. However, most of these films are allowed to be shown abroad in commercially distributed theaters or in film festivals.

Currently, the vast majority of the Mainland-produced movies uses Standard Mandarin. Mainland films are often dubbed into Cantonese when exported to Hong Kong for theatrical runs.


The Beginnings: Shanghai as the centre, 1896-1945

Motion pictures were introduced to China in 1896. The first recorded screening of a motion picture in China occurred in Shanghai on August 11, 1896, as an "act" on a variety bill. The first Chinese film, a recording of the Beijing Opera, The Battle of Dingjunshan, was made in November 1905.[1] For the next decade the production companies were mainly foreign-owned, and the domestic film industry, centering around Shanghai, a thriving entrepot center and the largest city in the Far East, did not start in earnest until 1916. During the 1920s film technicians from the United States trained Chinese technicians in Shanghai, and American influence continued to be felt there for the next two decades.

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