Homegrown blockbusters were supposed to be China’s answer to Hollywood. And, to some extent, the extravagant budgets and eye-popping special effects of “Curse of the Golden Flower,” “The Promise” and “The Banquet” did their job. For the past two years Chinese films have shattered box-office records here, while outperforming Hollywood imports.
Yet far from inspiring national pride, these films, from the well-known directors Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige and Feng Xiaogang, have sparked a heated, sometimes vituperative domestic debate about the future of Chinese cinema and whether the country’s leading filmmakers are true artists or merely politically savvy hacks….[Full Text]