Filmsin Asian Countries
Filmsin Asian Countries
Oneof the regions that have seen its popularity increase around thegroup through its films and the cinema industry is the Asian region.This is a region that has over time kept hold of their culturalpractices. The film industry in the region has over time seentremendous development, and accompanied by communication andtechnology advancement, the film industry in the region hastremendously and positively grown. In the year 2013, the revenuescollected from the Asian film making industry was recorded at $35.9billion, which is a sign of the growth of the industry. This recordsurpassed all other regions globally outside the North Americaregion. According to Zhou, “Filmsfrom China, South Korea, India and many other Asian nations not onlycontinue to appeal to local audiences but are growing in popularityaround the world as well”.According to Edward Neubronner, the senior vice-president for theAsia Pacific at MPAA “there is incredible growth from this regionin terms of film development” Asia being the biggest continent inthe world has had very impacting results in the world of films andcinemas. The region comprises of countries such as japan, china, andthe Korea countries, Taiwan among others. This paper focuses on thedevelopment and growth of the film in the Eastern Asia region mostlylooking into the eastern Asia countries.
Sincethe making of the first short films in japan in the years 1890’s,the film industry has seen positive development in the region.Moreover, the film industry has seen different and numerous actorsand actresses make their name in the film industry through the Asiancinemas. Some of the actors and actresses to have made their name infilm and cinema making include TakeshiKitano, jet Li, Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, Li Gong, Toshiro Mifune,Ziyi Zhang, RanbirKapoor, KamalHaasan, Bruce Lee, among many others. Some of the actors havebecome world icons in the film industry have increasing to thepopularity of the Asian film industry globally.
Thedevelopment and good performance of the prominently known filmindustry from the Western countries ‘The Hollywood’, has greatlycontributed to the growth of the Asian film making and making of thefilm stars. Different factors have been credited to the massive andrapid growth of the film industry the Asian region. One is the searchfor international recognition. The region has tried in differentfronts on ways to be recognized, the film industry has been used as atoll to market the region to other parts of the world and in turnexperiencing growth on its own. Another factor is the high growthrate of the industry globally accompanied by digitization as well asincrease in the number of theaters, and emergence of new content,have all seen a positive growth in the film industry. However, thesemilestones have not been achieved without challenges such as lack ofadequate funds and competition from the much developed western filmindustries (Slobin, 2009).
EasternAsia is a term that is used to mean the nations that occupy theeastern part of the continent and include Japan, China, Hong Kong,Taiwan and South Korea. This means that eastern Asian films mean thefilms that are done by people in the above stated countries. Asstated earlier, the most significant film industries that can becategorized as East Asian films are industries in China, Hong Kong,Japan, South Korea, as well as, Taiwan. Despite this, the largestmarkets are in China, Japan and South Korea (Sklar,2002). It should be noted that in most cases, the Eastern Asian filmindustry is the most developed industry in the continent as it hasalways been made up of different storylines because of the variety ofstories that come from these countries. Japan and China were thefirst countries in the region to experience the effect of cinema whenit arrived on the continent. It can be argued that cinema arrived inthe region in the late 19thcentury and immediately became part of the culture, as well as,political culture in both countries (Ehrlich& Desser, 1994).According to Richie & Schrader (2005), “film began in Japan, asin most countries, during the last few years of the 19thcentury. The Cinematographer Lumere made its Osaka debut in 1897.Within weeks, Thomas Edison’s Vitascope was also seen there and,shortly after that, in Tokyo as well. In the same year, the firstmotion picture camera was imported by photographer Asano Shiro of theKonishi Camera Shop, and was shortly shooting scenes around thecapital”. This shows that Japan was one of the countries that werethe first in the region to have a taste of film (Sklar,2002).
Stylesof films to have been adopted in Asia
Asthe paper states earlier, there are various storylines that areadopted by the films in the region. This is what adds up to the scopeof the films that has been found to be huge in the sense that itoccupies a wide range of styles and genres. It should be noted thatdespite the huge scope of these films, most of them share a commonbackground. The scope of these films includes martial arts as commonin Hong Kong. They are known as Period Kung Fu, action comedies or inthe local language as Wuxia (Sklar,2002). The next genre is the Japanese Samurai films that are known as‘Jidaigeki’. It should be noted that these are some of the oldestin the region as Japan was one of the countries in the region toexperience the effect of cinema when it arrived in Eastern Asia. Thenext style is the Japanese horror films that are characterized byscary scenes. The Japanese animation also makes up one of the mostpopular styles of East Asia films. The Koreans have their ownversions of the ‘telenovela’ and soap opera films that make upthe Korean Drama (Ehrlich& Desser, 1994).The other most common style that is adopted by the people in theregion is the Heroic bloodshed that is part of the Hong Kong actionfilm. This final version is also characterized by the use ofgangsters in films. It is important to note at this point that theoriginality and entertainment of these films is what has made themnot only popular in Asia, but also in other countries across theglobe (Standish,2006).
Thefirst film was filmed in china in 1896 followed by a screening offilms that were produced by Edison a year later. It was in the year1898 that Edison shot a documentary known as China Honor guard. Comicshorts took center stage in the year 1902 when such films as Blackpeople Eat watermelon was screened. It should be noted that like inmany other Asian countries, most of the film industries in thecountry were owned by foreign investors (Leyda,1979).The first Chinese film to be produced was the Battle of Dingjunshanthat was produced in 1905. The first decade of the Chinese films wasfirst centered on Shanghai. On the same note, the first sound filmwas made in 1931 and was categorical because it used sound that wasstored on a disc. The Chinese film industry was mainly dominated bythree companies that were involved in the production of these films.The three were the Lianhua, Mingxing and Tianyi (Zhen,2005).This was the period that saw some of the biggest Chinese movie starsemerging in the names of Li Lili, Zhao Dan, Zhou Xuan, and Hu Die(Nowell-Smith,1996).Some of the major films of the period were the Love and Duty thatwere produced in 1931, as well as, the Little Toys that was producedin 1933. Others in the same period were the Song of the Fishermenthat was released in 1934 together with the New Women released in thesame year (Leyda,1979).The films in this era depicted the real struggle that took over themost parts of the county at the time in the sense that theNationalists and Communists were shown in the films fighting forpower, as well as, the control of the studios (Zhen,2005).This golden era that had seen the development of Chinese filmindustry was brought to a halt by the Japanese invasion of Chinaespecially the battle that took place in Shanghai China. This meantthat most of the film industries in the region closed and relocatedto other parts of the country with most of them heading to Hong Kong(Leyda,1979).
Thesecond golden age of the Chinese film industry came after 1945 whenmost of the industries reopened in Shanghai and more came to be born.The leftist tradition that had been adopted by most of them changedand most of them started exploring new dramatic genres. For example,a company such as Wenhua started taking into accounts the post warproblems that affected the population at the time (Zhen,2005).It is important to note that despite the fact that the end of theworld war made it possible for the rebirth of the Chinese filmindustry, the communist party took power, which dealt a big blow tothe film industry once again. The government took control of massmedia that meant most of the Hollywood and Hong Kong productions werebanned in favor of the productions that supported the governmentagenda in the country (Nowell-Smith,1996).
However,all was not lost as the Cultural Revolution of China in 1970 andimprovement in education that led to a change in the stand that hadbeen adopted by the Chinese government. The Beijing film academy isone of the notable features that led to the development of a new eraof Chinese movie makers (Zhen,2005).The opening of the country to foreigners also made the Chinese filmspopular in foreign markets. This led to a lot of commercial gain notonly to the producers, but also to the country as well. This periodalso saw the development of very prominent actors that are knownworldwide such as Jackie Chan (Standish,2006).
Asstated in the previous sections, Cinema was introduced in Japan inthe later years of the 19thcentury. It should however be noted that at this time, anything to dowith cinema was foreign owned especially by people from America andEurope (Nowell-Smith,1996).This continued into the 1930s, when even after the development ofsound in other countries, silent films were still in production inthe country. The film law that was passed in 1939 gave the Japangovernment more control over the industry, which saw the emergence ofmore documentary and propaganda films. According to Bowyer(2004), thesedocumentaries were mainly cultural in nature. Some of the mostnotable directors at the time were Fumio Kamei and Hiroshi TImizu(Salt,1983).Realism was one of the most favored styles by most producers. TheWorld War II dealt a very big blow to Japanese cinema at the time.This is because of the fact that Japan lost the war, which meant aweak economy and a large number of people being unemployed. Thismeant that the film industry suffered a very large extent form theoccurrences of the time (Bowyer,2004).The government control of the industry was also evident at the timeas seen through the emergence of such themes such as patriotism, aswell as militaristic themes. They depicted war like scenes,especially those that showed the superiority of Japan to the rest ofthe world. The golden age of Japanese films came in the 1950s, whendiversity in the movie distribution. Innovation led to improvement ofone of the aspects of films such as clearer features of films in thisera. Examples of the movies of this era are Rashomon in 1950. Thisfilm was important in the sense that it marked the entry of Japanesefilms in the world arena. Carmen comes home was the first film inJapan to be produced in color. According to Nowell-Smith(1996),it was the year 1954 that saw the most influential films in Japanbeing produced (High,1984).Some of these included the Seven Samurai, Godzilla, and SamuraiTrilogy. High(1984) argues that filmproduction hit the peak in the 1960s and later declined as a resultof the increase in the spread of television. This led to betterstrategies being designed in order to make sure that the industriessurvived the decline in business. This trend, however, changed in the1900s when the trend in the number of movies shown in the countryincreasing. The continued exposure of the film industry to the restof the world has led to Japanese films competing competitively withthe films that are produced in other nations (Nowell-Smith,1996).
Justlike in Japan and China, the other countries such as South Korea andHong Kong, as well as, Taiwan adopted the same historical setting asthat of China and Japan. This is because just as in the two mainnations, cinema in the rest of Eastern Asia was introduced byforeigners and it took some time for it to develop into what we havetoday (Salt,1983).Sound films began being produced in Asia in the period beginning inthe 1930s. However, some of the countries were overshadowed by theadvances in China and Japan and were left to just import from the twonations. This was the period that saw the emergence of many studiosin major cities such as Hong Kong and Seoul. It is important to notethat just like in China and Japan the period that appeared after theWorld War II is considered the golden age of Asian film industry.This is because of the fact that the highest number of films wasproduced during this period as more and more studios were opened inmajor cities (Salt,1983).Most of the Eastern Asian industries had experienced their golden ageby the time the 1960s came. A case in point is the South Koreanindustry that reached its climax in the 1950s and 1960s with theemergence of some of the most influential directors in the name ofLee Kyu-Hwan. The growth of the Eastern film industry after 1990s canbe attributed to the opening up of the region to western influenceand the popularity of the films across the globe (Ehrlich& Desser, 1994).
TheAsian countries have embarked on taking their cinema and filmindustry a notch higher. The producer in the region has embarked onmission to become global producers such as the case of China andSouth Korea producers. However, in order for them to achieve thisambition, several things need to be accomplished by the industry.These include a need to tell global stories, as well as adoption ofhigh-end technologies, large budgets and embarking on globaldistribution. With these achievements, the Asian film industry willachieve more than what it has achieved. Another challenge that thefilm industry in the Asia needs to address is the acting of the filmsin their native language. This has greatly hindered the buying oftheir movies by communities that does not understand their language.However, this has been addressed by the adoption of a translationwritings within their films. Another key challenge that has adverselyaffected the performance of the Asian film industry is the menace ofpiracy. Not only has this hampered the Asian region, but also theworld at large. This has been contributed by the negative aspects oftechnology adoption.
Inconclusion, from the arguments above, it is clear that most of thefilm industries in the Far East developed after the 1900s, after aslow start in 1880’s, with the Asian market making its name in thecinema industry after the World War II in the 1940s. Most of themhave however been influenced to a great extent by the western moviemakers who came into the area during the period. It is also clear thefilm industry has undergone a lot of challenges as government controlbefore it came to what we have today. The Asian film industry hasdevelopment further through the innovation and adoption of thetechnology advancements in the cinema acting and presentation.Despite the many challenges to have faced the region, the easternAsian region has seen its film industry become a force to reckon withglobally in the cinema and film industries. Modern association withbig west entertainment titans like Walt Disney and Warner Group arecertainly taking Asian film jumps and boundaries ahead from itsrecent time and also leading Asia to a stage where it would turn tobe the most promising destination for many worldwide production unitsof film sector (Baskett, 2014).
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