和故事中的人一样，中国电影行业为了在世界上找到一席之地，也经过了漫长旅程。在1994年，《亡命天涯》（The Fugitive） 成为了中国数十年来第一部公映的好莱坞大片。观众们被影片的快节奏和音效吸引，而这部电影结果也取得了巨大的成功。从这时起，中国电影行业便一直在平衡着与好莱坞的复杂关系。
What Hollywood Looks Like From China
A man had a dream in which he was told where he could find fantastic wealth in a remote place. When he awoke, he instantly set off to find it. After a long journey full of danger and hardship, he arrived at the place in his dream. A local man who had heard about the dreamer’s purpose laughed loud and long, saying that he had dreamed three times about a house where great treasure was buried under a fountain. It dawned on the dreamer that the place the local was describing was his very own yard. He returned home and found the treasure.
Like the man in this tale, the Chinese movie industry has been on a long journey to find its place in the world. In 1994, “The Fugitive” became the first major Hollywood film to be released in the country in decades. Audiences were enthralled with the movie’s fast pace and sound effects, and it proved to be a runaway success. Since then, the Chinese film industry has balanced a complex relationship with Hollywood.
Although there has been a dramatic slowdown in China’s box-office numbers — movie-ticket revenue rose just 3.7 percent in 2016 after growing by an average of 35 percent per year from 2011 to 2015 — the country still has a huge movie market, with theaters continuing to expand into more rural areas and audiences proving that they have a voracious appetite for Hollywood action films. So much so that recently, Hollywood has even started to make movies with China in mind, casting Chinese movie stars with tremendous box-office power and tweaking the plots and aesthetics of films to win over Chinese moviegoers.
Many in China’s film industry, from young scriptwriters to senior critics, know Hollywood’s dramatic structure all too well and advocate its tropes and tactics. And many American offerings introduced in the Chinese market, regardless of quality, continue to do well among Chinese audiences, especially with young people, whose tastes and viewing habits have been shaped by Hollywood movies and TV shows. Like audiences in other developing countries, those in China tend to have a worldview filtered by and focused on the United States, even though the United States doesn’t mean the whole world and Hollywood isn’t the world’s only movie industry.
Like an ocean that refuses no rivers, China’s movie industry will continue to influence and allow itself to be influenced by its international counterparts. China needs the United States, and the United States needs China. But at the moment, a large discrepancy exists in that very few Chinese movies are able to enter the American market and attract a significant audience. Chinese audiences provide Hollywood with huge profits, but what does China’s film industry gain in return?
What’s more, homegrown movies in China sometimes face steep challenges in the shadow of Hollywood blockbusters. We are right to be concerned about the succession and inheritance of China’s film traditions as well as the potential loss of our unique values and aesthetics.
Despite these worries, like a boat that sails with the flow, we will continue to work on maintaining our distinctiveness while acknowledging the benefits of this cultural exchange. Just think how corn, tomatoes and sweet potatoes came from other lands but are able to thrive in China and provide nourishment all the same.
I have worked with Hollywood before, and my experience has enriched my appreciation of both worlds. Due to the technological and regulatory differences between the American and Chinese film industries, it is not always easy to apply what one has learned in one environment to the other. Sometimes the effort to make improvements ends up causing bigger headaches. But self-reflection and correction is nevertheless vital. Hesitation out offear of making a mistake will never allow for the growth and change that is necessary for the creation of art.
Even though the treasure is hidden in plain sight, we realize that it is the journey that is indispensable. It’s important to keep channels — and our minds — open to achieve a mutual understanding of our cultures, policies and economies. Both sides must travel farther than they imagined in order to know each other better and explore the possibilities for a fantastic future.