Chinese film industry should focus more on the quality of movies to promote international competitiveness: expert

By Wu Yu Source: Global Times Published: 2020/10/18 23:34:45

Photo: Poster of The Story of Xi Bao

The box office of Chinese mainland in 2020 surpassed 13 billion yuan ($1.93 billion) on Thursday, surpassing the North American box office of $1.92 billion listed by film data tracker Box Office Mojo and cheering the country's film industry up. The achievement is real but problems should also be seen: Chinese films still lack international influence and competitiveness, said observers.

The Chinese mainland box office achievement got much applause, but a film that was released on Friday threw cold water on the fire.

The Chinese film The Story of Xi Bao, adapted from the novel of the same name written by Yi Shu from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, has earned a low 3.4/10 on Chinese major media review platform Douban.

Many negative reviews took aim at the film contents, saying that it lacks the emotional dilemmas and pain women feel in a romantic relationship that was the spiritual core of the original novel and instead just tries to tell a simple story about how a rich old man falls in love with a pretty young woman.

"The film is shallow and the script cannot compare with the original work," was the consensus of many moviegoers in their reviews of the film.

The film is a case study of how Chinese productions fail to tell a story that touches the hearts of audiences. This is one of the major problems the Chinese film industry should improve upon. No matter how beautiful the cinematography in a film, a work without a high-quality script cannot really win the hearts of audiences, said observers.

"One of the main reasons leading to our box office surpassing that of North America is that China's epidemic is in good control and more cinemas are back to work. That does not mean China has become a developed country when it comes to its film industry," Shi Wenxue, a film critic based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday.

When it comes to the per capita input-output ratio of each movie and average attendance, China still falls behind other countries with advanced film industries. In 2019, China's per capita movie attendance was 1.2, while North America's was 4.7.

Chinese film industry should develop several advanced film genres and keep investing resources including finance and human power in the creation and production of these genres, like hero-themed movies in the US, according to Shi.

Shi added that building and developing an industrial system for Chinese films is also important. China should treat films as a part of its national soft power. 

Posted in: FILM

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