Memoirs from the Beijing Film Academy : the genesis of China's fifth generation


Memoirs from the Beijing Film Academy : the genesis of China's fifth generation

by Ni Zhen ; translated by Chris Berry

(Asia-Pacific : culture, politics, and society)

Duke University Press, 2002

  • : pbk.

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Original title in Chinese not available

Includes index



After graduating from the Beijing Film Academy in 1982, directors like Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou transformed Chinese cinema with Farewell My Concubine, Yellow Earth, Raise the Red Lantern, and other international successes. Memoirs from the Beijing Film Academy tells the riveting story of this class of 1982, China's famous "Fifth Generation" of filmmakers. It is the first insider's account of this renowned cohort to appear in English. Covering these directors' formative experiences during China's tumultuous Cultural Revolution and later at the Beijing Film Academy, Ni Zhen-who was both their screenwriter and teacher-provides unique insights into the origins of the Fifth Generation's creativity. Drawing on his personal knowledge and interviews conducted especially for this volume, Ni Zhen demonstrates the diversity of the Fifth Generation. He comments on the breadth of styles and themes explored by its members and introduces a range of male and female directors, cinematographers, and production designers famous in China but less well-known internationally. The book contains vivid descriptions of the production processes of two pioneering films-One and Eight and Yellow Earth.


Table of Contents Translator's Introduction vii Preface to the English Edition xiii 1. Admission 1 2. Noses to the Grindstone 51 3. First Steps 113 4. Graduation 147 Postscript 192 Character List for Chinese Names 201 Chinese Film Title List 207 Notes 213 Index 225

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