Skip to main content

Module Reading List

Chinese Cinema, 2021/22, Semester 2
Dr Sarah Dodd
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

Core recommended reading

Lim, Song Hwee & Ward, Julian (ed). The Chinese cinema book, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan; London: British Film Institute, 2011.     

General recommended reading on film

Bazin, André (1967) What is Cinema? Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California.

Bordwell, David and Kristin Thompson (2013) Film Art: An Introduction, 10th edition. Boston, MA; London: McGraw-Hill.

Cook, Pam (ed) (2007) The Cinema Book, 3rd edition. London: BFI. (See chapter on Chinese cinema, by Chris Berry, pp192-195, for a good brief introduction).

Doughty, Ruth and Deborah Shaw (2009) Film: the essential study guide. London and New York: Routledge.

Elsaesser, Thomas and Malte Hagener (2010) Film theory: an introduction through the senses. London and New York: Routledge

Shohat, Ella and Robert Stam (eds) (1994) Unthinking Eurocentrism: multiculturalism and the media. London and New York: Routledge.

Smith, Geoffrey (ed.) (1999). The Oxford history of world cinema. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Villarejo, Amy (2013) Film studies: the basics, 2nd edition. London: Routledge. 


Weekly readings

An Introduction to Chinese Cinema

Required Reading:

Berry et al. ‘The State and Stakes of Chinese Cinema Studies: A Roundtable Discussion’. Journal of Chinese Cinemas, 2016, vol. 10, no. 1, pp67-86. (On Minerva)

Villarejo, Amy. Chapter 1, ‘Introduction to Film Studies’, in Film Studies: the Basics, 2013, pp1-26. 

Further Reading:

Berry, Chris (ed). Chinese films in focus: 25 new takes, London: BFI, 2003.

Berry, Chris. ‘Chinese Cinema’, in Cook, Pam (ed) (2007). The cinema book, 3rd edition. London: BFI. 

Lim, Song Hwee & Ward, Julian (ed). The Chinese cinema book, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan; London: British Film Institute, 2011. 

Zhang, Yingjin. Chinese National Cinema. New York, London: Routledge, 2004.


Street Angels and Cinema in the Republic of China (1911-1949)

Required Reading/ viewing:

Please watch video lecture 1 and 2 from the Chinese Film Classics study page:

Pang, Laikwan. ‘The Making of a National Cinema: Shanghai Films of the 1930s’, in The Chinese Cinema Book, ed. Song Hwee Lim and Julian Ward. London: Bloomsbury, 2020.  Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva 

Recommended reading:

Des Forges, Alexander. ‘Shanghai Alleys, Theatrical Practice, and Cinematic Spectatorship: From Street Angel (1937) to Fifth Generation Film’. Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 4. 2010, pp29-51. (Online from library).

Lee, Leo Ou-fan. Shanghai Modern: The Flowering of a New Urban Culture in China, 1930-1945. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999.

Ma Ning. ‘The Textual and Critical Difference of Being Radical: Reconstructing Chinese Leftist Films of the 1930s’, in Kuoshu, Harry H. Celluloid China. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 2002, pp93-109

Pang, Laikwan. Building a new China in cinema: the Chinese left-wing cinema movement, 1932-1937, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, c2002 

Widmer, Ellen and Wang, David Der-wei (ed).  From May fourth to June fourth: fiction and film in twentieth-century China, Cambridge, Mass. London: Harvard University Press, 1993


Martial Arts Cinema

Required Reading:

Guo Yingjie. ‘Recycled Heroes, Invented Tradition, and Transformed Identity’, in Rawnsley, Gary D.; Rawnsley, Ming-Yeh T. Global Chinese cinema : the culture and politics of Hero, pp27-42.  

Larson, Wendy. ‘Zhang Yimou's Hero: dismantling the myth of cultural power’. Journal of Chinese Cinemas, 01 January 2008, Vol.2(3), pp.181-196.

Recommended Reading:

Dalia, Albert. ‘Fighting Heroes: The Core Values of the Xia Tradition in Early China’. Revista de Artes Marciales Asiáticas, 01 May 2012, Vol.6(2), pp.45-56. Available Online

Grasso, Stephane. ‘Wuxia Masks: On Come Drink With Me and the Beijing Opera’, Offscreen, vol.10, issue 3, March 2006.  

Lee, Vivian. ‘Virtual bodies, flying objects: the digital imaginary in contemporary martial arts films’. Journal of Chinese Cinemas, vol. 1. No. 1 (2007). 

Rawnsley, Gary D. and Ming-Yeh T. Rawnsley (eds). (2010). Global Chinese cinema: the culture and politics of Hero. London: Routledge. 

Rodriguez, Hector. ‘Questions of Chinese Aesthetics: Film Form and Narrative Space in the Cinema of King Hu.’ Cinema Journal 38, no 1. Fall 1998. 

Teo, Stephen, Chinese Martial Arts Cinema: The Wuxia Tradition. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.

Wu, Chia-Chi. ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is Not a Chinese Film.’ The Spectator. Vol. 22, Iss. 1, (Spring 2002), pp65-79. (Online)


Socialist Cinema in China 

Required Reading:

Xiao Lu, ‘Red Detachment of Women: Revolutionary Melodrama and Alternative Socialist Imaginations’, in Differences (2015) 26 (3). pp116-141

Mao’s talks at the Yan’an Forum, 1942. (You don’t have to read the whole thing, but have a look to get an idea of it).

Recommended Reading:

Clark, Paul. Chinese Cinema: Culture & Politics since 1949, Cambridge: CUP 1987

Harris, Kristine. 'Re-makes/Re-models: The Red Detachment of Women between Stage and Screen'. The Opera Quarterly, Spring/Summer 2010, Vol.26(2/3), p.316. (Online)

Li Jie. Gained in translation: The reception of foreign cinema in Mao's China. Journal of Chinese Cinemas, 02 January 2019, Vol.13(1), pp.61-75. (Online)

Marchetti, Gina. ‘Two Stage Sisters: The Blossoming of a Revolutionary Aesthetic’, in

Kuoshu, Harry H. Celluloid China. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 2002, pp 29-51

McGrath, Jason. 'Cultural Revolution Model Opera Films and the Realist Tradition in Chinese Cinema'. The Opera Quarterly, Spring-Summer 2010, Vol.26(2-3), pp.343-376. (Online)


The Fifth Generation (Chinese Cinema in the 1980s and 90s)

Required Reading:

Larson, Wendy. ‘The Fifth Generation: A Reassessment’, in Lim, Song Hwee & Ward, Julian (ed). The Chinese cinema book, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan; London: British Film Institute, 2011, pp113-121 Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva 

Recommended Reading:

 Berry, Michael (ed). Speaking in images: interviews with contemporary Chinese filmmakers, New York & Chichester: Columbia University Press, 2005.

Larson, Wendy. “Zhang Yimou, Inter / National Aesthetics and Erotics” in Cultural Encounters: China, Japan and the West, ed. by Soren Clausen, Roy Starrs & Anne Wedell-Wedellsborg, Aarhus University Press, 1995

Liu, Lihsing. The Chinese cinema in the 1980s, Ann Arbor: UMI, 1999.

Tweedie, James. ‘The Fifth Generation and the Youth of China’, in The age of new waves: art cinema and the staging of globalization. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, pp209-237.


The Urban Generation (1990s-)

Required Reading:

Xiao, Jiwei. ‘China Unraveled: Violence, Sin, and Art in Jia Zhangke's A Touch of Sin’. Film Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 4 (Summer 2015), pp. 24-35. (Online)

Recommended Reading:

Dudley, Andrew. “Encounter: Interview with Jia Zhangke”, Film Quarterly 62.4 (Summer 2009): 80-83 (Online)

Ma, Aliza. (2013). ‘A Touch of Sin: Histories of Violence’. Reverse Shot.

Ping Zhu, ‘Destruction, Moral Nihilism and the Poetics of Debris in Jia Zhangke's Still Life’, Visual Anthropology, 24.4, 2011, pp318-328. (Online)

Wang Yanjie. (2015). ‘Violence, Wuxia, Migrants: Jia Zhangke’s Cinematic Discontent in A Touch of Sin'. Journal of Chinese Cinemas, 9.2, pp159-172. (Online)

Xiao, Jiwei. (2011). ‘The Quest for Memory: Documentary and Fiction in Jia Zhangke's Films’. Senses of Cinema, 59.

Zhang, Xudong. “Poetics of vanishing: the films of Jia Zhangke”, New Left review (00286060), (63), p. 71. (Online)

Zhang, Zhen (ed). The urban generation: Chinese cinema and society at the turn of the twenty-first century. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007.


Hong Kong Cinema

Bordwell, David. Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment. Cambridge, Mass.; London: Harvard University Press, 2000.

Leary, Charles. ‘Electric Shadow of an Airplane: Hong Kong Cinema, World Cinema’, in Hunt, Leon and Leung Wing-Fai (eds). (2008). East Asian cinemas: exploring transnational connections on film. London; New York: I.B. Tauris.

Liew, Kai Khium. 'Intersecting Anglicization and Sinicization: Hong Kong cinema and the modernized colonial.  Cultural Studies, 01 September 2012, Vol.26(5), pp.765-781

Marcantonio, ‘In the Mood for Love’, Senses of Cinema, 56, Oct 2010.  

Teo, Stephen. Hong Kong Cinema: The Extra Dimensions. London: BFI, 1997.

Taiwan New Cinema

Required Reading:

Tweedie, James. ‘The Urban Archipelago: Taiwan’s New Wave and the East Asian Economic Boom’, in The age of new waves: art cinema and the staging of globalization. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, pp143-177.

Recommended Reading:

Chen, Ronggang. From “New Taiwan Cinema” to “World Cinema”: A Critical Case Study of Edward Yang’s Career. PhD thesis, University of Sydney, 2016.

Chiu, Kuei-fen, and Rawnsley, Ming-yeh, and Rawnsely, Gary D, eds.. Taiwan Cinema: International Reception and Social Change. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon; New York. Routledge, 2017.

Lu, Tonglin, ‘Taiwan New Cinema and its legacy’, in The Chinese Cinema Book, pp122-130

Sodholt, Dag. ‘The Complexity of Minimalism: Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Three Times’. Senses of Cinema, issue 39, May 2006.  

Udden, James. No Man an Island: The Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2009

Wei, Ti. ‘How did Hou Hsiao-Hsien change Taiwan cinema? A critical reassessment.’ Inter-Asia cultural studies, 2008-06-01, Vol.9 (2), pp271-279. (Online)

Genre Cinema in China

Berry, C. 2003. What’s Big About the Big Film? “De-Westernizing” the Blockbuster in Korea and China. In: Stringer, J. ed. Movie Blockbusters. London: Routledge, pp. 217-229. (Online)

Braester, Yomi. ‘Contemporary Mainstream PRC Cinema’, in Lim, Song Hwee & Ward, Julian (ed). The Chinese cinema book, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan; London: British Film Institute, 2011.

Clark, Paul, ‘Projecting Influence: Film and the limits of Beijing’s Soft Power’ In Screening China’s Soft Power, ed. by Paola Voci and Luo Hui. Abingdon, Oxon, UK: Routledge, 2018, pp. 21-37

Pang Laikwan, ‘The State Against Ghosts: A Genealogy of China’s Film Censorship Policy’, Screen, vol. 52, issue 4, Dec. 2011, pp461-476

Wu, Haiyun. ‘How Blockbuster War Movies Capture China’s Changing Nationalism’, Sixth Tone, 2017.  


Transnational and World Chinese Cinema

Hunt, Leon, and Wing-Fai, Leung. East Asian Cinemas: Exploring Transnational Connections on Film. London. I.B.Taurus, 2008.

Lu, Sheldon Hsiao-peng (ed). Transnational Chinese cinemas: identity, nationhood, gender; Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1997 

Rawnsley, Gary and Rawnsley, Ming-Yeh and Stringer, Julian (ed). Global Chinese cinema: the culture and politics of Hero. London: Routledge, 2008.

Teo, Stephen. The Asian Cinema Experience: Styles, Spaces, Theory. London. Routledge, 2013.


Other Reading on Chinese Cinema

Berry, Chris and Farquhar, Mary. China on Screen: Cinema and Nation. Hong Kong University Press, 2006.

-- (ed). Chinese Cinema, BFI Publishing, 1991

-- (ed). Perspectives on Chinese cinema, Ithaca& N.Y.: Cornell University, 1985.

Browne, Nick & Others (ed). New Chinese Cinemas: Forms, Identities & Politics, Cambridge: CUP, 1994

Chae, Youn-jeong. Film space and the Chinese visual tradition, Ann Arbor: UMI, 1999

Chen, Xihe. The major developments and their ideological implications of Chinese film and film education since the Cultural Revolution, Ann Arbor: UMI, 1999

Chow, Rey. Primitive passions: visuality, sexuality, ethnography, and contemporary Chinese cinema. New York: Columbia University Press, c1995.

Cornelius, Sheila. New Chinese Cinema: challenging representations, London: Wallflower, 2001.

Cui, Shuqin. Women through the lens : gender and nation in a century of Chinese cinema. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, c2003.

Dissanayake, Wimal (ed). Colonialism and Nationalism in Asian Cinema, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994

Huang, Yuh Li. The rise and fall of the new Chinese cinema. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1999

Khoo, Olivia and Metzger, Sean (ed). Futures of Chinese cinema : technologies and temporalities in Chinese screen cultures, Bristol & Chicago: Intellect, 2009.

Kwok-Kan Tam & Wimal Dissanayake. New Chinese Cinema, Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1998

Kuoshu, Harry H. Celluloid China: Cinematic Encounters with Culture and Society, Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 2002

Leyda, Jay. Dianying: an account of films and the film audience in China, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1972

Louie, Kam. The Cambridge Companion to Modern Chinese Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. (Chapter by David Clarke ‘Cinema: From Foreign Import to Global Brand).

Lu, Sheldon H. and Yeh, Emilie Yueh-yu, (ed). Chinese-language film: historiography, poetics, politics, Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2005

Lu Tonglin (ed). Gender and Sexuality in Twentieth-Century Chinese Literature and Society, New York: State University of New York Press, 1993

Lu, Tonglin. Confronting modernity in the cinemas of Taiwan and Mainland China, Cambridge: CUP, 2002

McGrath, Jason Postsocialist modernity : Chinese cinema, literature, and criticism in the market age, Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 2008.

Ma, Jean, Melancholy drift: marking time in Chinese cinema, Hong Kong University Press, 2010. 

Nochimson, Martha P. World on Film: An Introduction. Chichester: Blackwell Publishing, 2010 (chapters on Wong Kar-Wai and Jia Zhangke).

Pickowicz, Paul G. and Zhang, Yingjin (ed). From underground to independent: alternative film culture in contemporary China. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, c2006.

Semsel, George S. & Others (ed). Chinese Film: A Guide to the New Era, Praeger Publisher 1990

Semsel, George S. (ed). Chinese film Theory: the state of the art in the People's Republic, New York: Praeger, 1987

Silbergeld, Jerome. China into Film: Frames of Reference in Contemporary Chinese Cinema, Reaktion Boos LTD, 1999

Yau, Ching-mei Esther. Filmic discourse on women in Chinese cinema, (1949-1965): art, ideology and social relations, Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1999.

Zhu, Ying & Rosen Stanley, Art, politics, and commerce in Chinese cinema, Hong Kong University Press, 2010. (chapter on Jia Zhangke’s films)

Zhang, Rui. The cinema of Feng Xiaogang: commercialization and censorship in Chinese cinema after 1989. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press; London: Eurospan [distributor], 2008.

Zhang, Yingjin. Chinese National Cinema, New York and London: Routledge, 2004.

--. Screening China: critical interventions, cinematic reconfigurations, and the transnational imaginary in contemporary Chinese cinema, Ann Arbor, MI: Center for Chinese Studies, 2002.

--Screening China : critical interventions, cinematic reconfigurations, and the transnational imaginary in contemporary Chinese cinema. Ann Arbor, MI: Center for Chinese Studies, 2002.

-- The city in modern Chinese literature & film: configurations of space, time, and gender, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1996

Zhang, Yingjin & Xiao, Zhiwei (ed). Encyclopaedia of Chinese Film, Routledge, 1999

Zhou, Xuelin. Young Rebels in Contemporary Chinese Cinema. Hong Kong: HKUP, 2007.

Other General Reading on Cinema

Corrigan, Timothy. A Short Guide to Writing About Film, Longman, 1998

Cousins, Mark. The Story of Film, London: Pavilion Books, 2011 

(Accompanies an excellent 15-part TV series, The Story of Film: An Odyssey, available online from Box of Broadcasts).

Hill, John & Gibson, Church. The Oxford Guide to Film Studies, Oxford: OUP, 1998

Monaco, James. How to read a film: movies, media, and beyond: art, technology, language, history, theory; with diagrams by David Lindroth. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2009.

Nelmes, Jill. An Introduction to Film Studies, Routledge, 1996

Roberts, Graham and Wallis, Heather Introducing Film, London : Arnold, 2001

Wollen, Peter. Sign and Meaning in the Cinema, The British Film Institute, 1998

General Reading on Chinese History

Fairbank, John King & Goldman, Merle, China: A New History, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1998.

Kraus, Richard Curt. The Cultural Revolution: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Mitter, Rana. Modern China: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.



This list was last updated on 13/12/2021