New Year’s movies


New Year’s movies
(Hesuipian)
Hesuipian are a film-marketing phenomenon that became prominent around 1997, when the Chinese film industry faced increasing competition from Hollywood movies and Hong Kong action movies. Aiming at the ‘golden season’ from Christmas to the Chinese New Year Festival, Hesuipian often feature light-hearted comedy and action, and are therefore criticized by some critics as focusing too much on ticket sales and ignoring artistic quality. However, the majority of Chinese audiences—film critics and taxi drivers alike—welcomed Hesuipian as a necessary boost to the slump in the film market. The number of Hesuipian has been growing, and their style has become increasingly diversified.
From his first big hit, Parties A and B (Jiafang yifang, 1997), director Feng Xiaogang’s name has become synonymous with Hesuipian. His Be There or Be Square (Bu jian bu san, 1998), Sony, Baby (Mei wan mei lao, 1999) and Big Shot’s Funeral (Da wan’r, 2001) continued to lead the box office each year. Concealing social criticism in gritty humour and witty shtick is the defining feature of Feng’s Hesuipian.
Produced by Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia, Huayi Brothers and the China Film Group, Big Shot’s Funeral portrays how deeply commercialism has permeated all corners of Chinese society: the funeral of a legendary Hollywood director is turned into a sale by his Chinese colleagues for making big advertising bucks. Feng’s popularity lies fundamentally in the absurdity that mirrors real life as exemplified in this black comedy, and the success of his films contributes to the prosperity of Hesuipian.
Kong, Shuyu (2003). ‘Big Shot from Beijing: Feng Xiaogang’s He Sui Pian and Contemporary Chinese Commercial Film’. Asian Cinema 14. 2 (Spring/Summer): 175–87.
Xu, Ying and Xu, Zhongquan (2002). ‘A “New” Phenomenon of Chinese Cinema: Happy-New-Year Comic Movie’. Asian Cinema (Spring/ Summer): 112–27.
QIU PEIPEI

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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