chapter  3
40 Pages

The dogmatic formula

The relationships that had existed for a while amongst the three bodies of film production: commercial or private feature filmmakers, the Communists in the north, and the Goumindang in the south, changed dramatically in 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party established the People’s Republic on the mainland. Defeated by the Communists in 1949, the Guomindang withdrew to Taiwan, while private studio ownership and production sharply declined and finally ended altogether in 1952 when the Communist government embarked on its first five year plan under its Socialist policy. After 17 years of war, the new government faced poverty, a high percentage of illiteracy, and a huge nation-building task. In those early days of Communist China, news and documentary films proved to be the most economic, direct and efficient way of disseminating information, challenging the print media and radio, as well as feature films. In 1953 the state established a centrally controlled film studio specialising in news and documentary film production: the Central News Documentary Film Studio (Zhongyang xinwen jilu dianying zhipian chang) in Beijing. In addition, the state also founded another two non-fiction film studios aiming to lift the general educational level of the nation: the Shanghai Science and Education Film Studio (Shanghai kexue jiaoyu dianying zhipian chang) in 1953 and China Agriculture Film Studio (Zhongguo nongye dianying zhipian chang) in 1954.