Abstract of Ge, C., “Photography, Shadow Play, Beijing Opera and The First Chinese Film”.
The origin of Chinese cinema is an under-explored subject in histories written either in Chinese or in English. This paper aims to reveal how Chinese filmmaking began with the development of technique, the influence of Western films in commerce, the understanding of this new medium related to traditional Chinese theatrical awareness, and with the popularity of the dominant genre of Beijing Opera at the time the first Chinese film was made. This historical process manifested a series of complex cultural interactions, which led to an indigenization – glocalization – of the medium. Whilst signifying similarities to Western films, early Chinese cinema was distinguished from that of the West in culture and aesthetics. Film, the new medium in China, remained rooted in Chinese culture.