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Commercializing the “Main Melody Films: Chinese Cinema in Transformation”

November 10, 2010 - 4:15pm
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor


TENG Jimeng, Associate Professor, Center for American Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University

The ongoing development of Chinese cinema's commercial entertainment trend is both the result and the manifestation of the Chinese film industry's shifting economic and cultural orientations. The commercialization of the film industry directly contributed to the surge of “state-funded propaganda blockbuster-commercialized main melody films.” A case in point is the all time Chinese box-office champion- The Founding of a Republic (2009), which is widely acclaimed as the most successful main melody film ever made in the post-Socialist China. Does The Founding of a Republic indicate a tactical shift for China's film bureau with regards to getting its message across? Or a paradigm shift for Chinese filmmakers to respond to the industry's marketization agenda? In this presentation, Teng will seek to examine not only the multiple reasons behind the making of the state-funded "propaganda blockbuster," but also the dilemma it creates for the future of Chinese filmmaking.  

Teng Jimeng has taught American Studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University  (BFSU) since 1991, and has been full time associate professor of the University’s Center for American Studies since 1998, after which he traveled extensively in South China and North America on various grants, including the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia and US-China Fulbright Educational Exchange Grants. His primary research interest is a long-term project on the transition and transformation from social radicalism in the 1960s to the neo-conservatism in the 1980s. He specializes in US history in the 1960s. His book “Music-Made America: Popular Music since 1960’s” (Beijing: Foreign Languages Teaching & Research Press, 1995) frames rock ‘n’ roll culture of the 1960s America within the history of mass media with a focus on popular culture as a mediation between mainstream and alternative cultures. His awards include two Certificates for Excellence in Teaching at BFSU in 1993 and 1994.

Meanwhile, from 1991 to 1997, he served as translator and consultant to the Palm D’Or winning director, Mr. Chen Kaige, director of Farewell My Concubine. His major interview with Chen Kaige titled “Foreign Literatures and Films” was published in Foreign Literatures (No. 2, 1996), one of the most prestigious academic journals in China today. He also works for Director Wang Chao, one of the flagship Sixth Generation directors, whose Luxury Car, wins the Un Certain Regard at the Cannes International Film Festival 2006, France. Currently, he is consulting for Dir. Wang’s new project, an arthouse film independently produced by Director Wang’s Wutongyingzhi Company Ltd..   

Teng Jimeng is a long-term public commentator with both China Radio International (CRI), and “Dialogue” (Channel 9) of China Central Television (CCTV), the English language channel at the nation’s largest television network. Presently, Mr. Teng is teaching American Studies at the School of English and International Studies, and Professor of Chinese film at the Alliance Program at Beijing Language and Culture University, and CET Program at Beijing Normal University.

Free and open to the public.

Event Sponsor: 
Center for East Asian Studies
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