China journeys, and the nation’s cinematic challenge

9 Nov

Take a journey across China in this video of timelapse photos of cities and landscapes, ranging from Shanghai and Beijing to Hong Kong to Tibet and Xinjiang.

Down in the southwest of China, there are great mountains and wilderness in Yunnan province and Tibet. This guy did a 15-day trek to the 22,107 foot high Kara Kapo, one of Tibetan Buddhism’s holiest mountains, with just two guides.

Moving on to movies, a major aim of China is to have its international cultural power match its geopolitical standing. Movies is a strong way to achieve this, but the big problem is actually making a hit blockbuster. Sure, there was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but other than Jet Li (and to a lesser extent Donnie Yen) kungfu pics and Jackie Chan comedies, international Chinese hits are sparse. That’s not to say there are no good movies from China – I’ve seen some interesting movies recently in China, such as So Young, Saving General Yang, and a comedy about a Xinjiang village’s kid’s football team. Chinese movies are slowly getting there in terms of special effects and topics, but they’re not there yet. China’s biggest local hit was Lost in Thailand which grossed US$194 million last year, but it didn’t fare well in the US. On the hardware and infrastructural front, China is set as well. A Chinese magnate made news last month with the launch of his giant US$8 billion-plus studio complex in Qingdao, which saw Hollywood stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman attend. Hopefully there’ll be a time when Chinese stars (other than Jackie Chan) can attract such attention and coverage overseas.

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