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Chinese Movie Topics :: Genres and Subjects

Film-Type, Genres, Subjects and Keywords
in Chinese cinema

This is to discuss the way Chinese Movie Database catogrizes Chinese films such that you can find the related films. Because of the difference in cultural background and audiences' tastes and expections, Chinese movies are not easily catogorized using Western cinema standards. 'Genre bending' is a buzzword used by Western critics to describe many Chinese films. In reality, there is often no such well-defined 'genre' in many Chinese movies. Historically Chinese films are more influenced by narrative devices of traditional Chinese opera. Indeed there are so many Chinese opera on celluloids we put them into one unique 'Film-Type'. There are over 30 different kinds of Chinese operas on film, all based on unique local dialect. There are also unique genres in Chinese movies besides martical arts and kungfu movies, like 'New-Year Film' which are made for the period of Chinese New Year, with as many as possible celebrities from movie and music industry.

Film-Types


Fiction/Feature Film Feature length (usually longer than 30-40 minutes) fictional films.
Documentary Film
Docudrama Film
Newsreel Film Until 1970's, newsreels were regulatrly shown in cinema
Animation Film Feature length animation film.
Musical Film Includes Huangmeidiao which is developed from Huangmeixi, one of the Chinese operas.
Chinese Opera A unique film type of Chinese cinema. The first known Chinese film Ding Jun Shan is a recording of Peking Opera performance. There have been many Chinese operas on film since then, contributing greatly to the persevation of some of the rare art forms. During the Cultural Revoluation during 70s, only 'Eight Model Opera' films were allowed to be made, most of them are modernized version of Jingju (Peking Opera). There are other attempts in modernizing Chinese opera, for example Shaoxing Yueju Mistress Xiang Lin.
In Chinese Movie Database there are records of over 30 Chinese opera on films, including Chaoju, Chuanju, Chuju, Ganju, Gannancaichaxi, Hebeibangzi, Huaibeibangzi, Huaiju, Huajixi, Huangmeixi, Huju, Jiju, Jingju (Peking Opera), Kunju, Shandong Luju (吕剧), Luju (鲁剧), Longjiangju, Meihuju, Meiwanqiang, Xiandaijingju (Modernized Peking Opera), Pingju, Puju, Qinqiang, Quju, Shandongbangzi, Canton Yueju, Shaoxing Yueju, Wuju, Xiangju, Xiju, Henanyuediao, and Yuju.
Stage Performance Recording of stage performance, for example East is Red is a recording of stage musical, and The Teahouse is a recording of stage drame. There are also recordings of ballet, dancing, piano concerto etc.
Short Film Thirty minutes or less fictional film, documenatary, or animation

TV types

TV Series Chinese TV series is more like the extended mini-series in Northern American terms. A TV series typically has 10-40 episodes, broadcasting within a short period. If popular, one or two sequels may follow, or being extended for longer period, but TV series in US style per season format does not exist. The longest TV series, TVB's A Kindred Spirit (1995-1999) has broadcasted 1128 episode in total.
TV Drama Single
TV Movie

Film Genres

As said above, in Chinese Movie Database we try to put Western and Chinese cinema genres together.
Drama
Comedy
Romantic
Action
Martial Arts It has been long argued there is difference between Wuxia or Xiayi (Martical Arts) films and Kung-Fu films.
Kung-Fu
War
Thrill
Horror
Fantasy
Sci-fi
Ghost
New Year Celebration Comedy films specially made for showing during Chinese New Year period. There are usually many movie, tv and music stars appearing in the film. In some movies, the characters somtimes turn to and greet audiences for the New Year. Some other action or comedy films are also labelled as Hesui (New Year Celebration) films, for example some of the Jackie Chan's movies, but they are not in this genre.
Erotic
Adult Soft porn films.

Subjects and Keywords

These are common subjects in Chinese movies, but can't be categorized as genres. Sometimes is very useful to locate related films. This list is growing all the time, and there is no particular order. You are welcome to suggest new subjects and keywords.



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