Why are some movies and television shows so popular and highly acclaimed that they become the talk of the town and even affect the traffic? This is the topic addressed at this year’s SUSS Cultural China Public Lecture (CCPL) held on 13 October 2018 at the SPH News Centre Auditorium.
At the invitation of co-organisers Centre for Chinese Studies @SUSS (CCS@SUSS) and Lianhe Zaobao, guest speaker Professor Hu Zhifeng, Dean of the College of Arts and Communication at Beijing Normal University, delivered his talk titled “Chinese Blockbusters: Why are they so successful?”
This year’s public lecture drew an audience of about 300. In his opening speech, Professor Eddie Kuo, Academic Advisor to SUSS, took a trip down memory lane by revisiting every public lecture held over the past seven years. In particular, he recounted how the SUSS Cultural Public Lecture series had evolved, and how each keynote speaker, from celebrated writers, literary critics, to public intellectuals, have discussed topics that are contemporary and important to the Chinese-speaking world.
The Singapore Chinese Film Festival (SCFF), for example, can trace its roots back to the public lecture titled “Chinese Cinema in the 21st Century” held in 2012. SCFF has since become a highly anticipated annual event for moviegoers.
Associate Professor Foo Tee Tuan, chairperson of the talk and director of CCS@SUSS, said in his introductory address that it was opportune to zero in on China’s film and television production as 2018 marked the 60th anniversary of Beijing Television’s first broadcast. Beijing Television was renamed China Central Television (CCTV) in 1978. He added that the audience could gain a better understanding of today’s China through the analysis of some wildly successful blockbusters.
Professor Hu lived up to the expectations as he analysed many facets of five China’s blockbusters: In the Name of the People, A Bite of China, Wolf Warrior 2, China Poetry Congress, and Dying to Survive. According to Professor Hu, the success of these productions can be attributed to the subject matter, production values, cultural elements, viewers’ demands, and perfect release timing.
Professor Hu also spoke about the influence of these blockbusters had over viewers. For instance, the first season of A Bite of China was so successful that it caused masses of people working in cities to travel back home, a phenomenon usually observed only during the Spring Festival celebrations, to indulge in their hometown delicacies. Likewise, memorising and reciting classical Chinese poems came into vogue after the variety show China Poetry Congress was aired.
The Q&A session almost stole the show as Associate Professor Foo asked Professor Hu about the recent disappearance of China’s top actress Fan Bingbing, and how this has impacted China’s film and television industry. Professor Hu gave the audience a clearer picture of the incident by explaining the political and economic factors at play.
The CCPL is in Mandarin with simultaneous interpretation in English to reach out to non-Chinese speaking audiences.
2018新跃文化中华讲座 -- 中国现象级影视作品观察