Thursday, May 24, 2007

China not as ancient or kung-fuish as you may expect from films

The comrades at Danwei have translated an article in a local film magazine interviewing westerners about their attiutudes to Chinese films. It's quite amusing, though I'm not sure how statistically robust it is.
My favourite bit:

"After coming to China, what do you think the greatest difference is between China in the movies and China in reality?
1. There are modern buildings all over and cars cover the streets - the real China is modern: 23%
2. It's not a bunch of fighting all the time - you never see people who know kung-fu or who can fly: 18%
3. Beijing's nightlife is really colorful: 16%
4. Practically everything in Chinese movies isn't the real China: 13%
5. Ideas about sex have opened up; there are lots of fashionably-dressed women on the streets: 11%
6. No feeling of being constrained by lots of rules: 9%
7. Gangsters are over-romanticized in the movies: 7%
8. There is too much environmental pollution, completely different from in the movies: 4%
9. The environment is beautiful and people live well-off lives, completely different from in the movies: 2%
10. Nothing much is different: 2%"

summed up by one respondent:

"One person said that life in modern China is not as interesting as life in ancient China. Nor is it as polite, as well-off, as romantic, or as thoughtful. And no one knows kung-fu."

Learning: not everything in the movies is real. And no one can fly. Not even in China.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

suits you

Mao jacket sculpture, from a Beijing art Gallery, 2006

A great article here about the symbolism of Chinese Communist dress forms, illustrating the early Communist party's grasp on the importance of a clear brand experience. (Thank you ilike and Owen for this).

More historical costuming here, details from Xiao Hui Wang's My last Hundred Years , a photographic and multimedia work at last year's Shanghai Biennale. Changing Chinese female roles including students, army officers, barefoot doctors moving to teeny boppers and general modernity: