August 23, 2011

Chinese-U.S. co-productions are on the rise, and Christian Bale, Kevin Spacey, and Keanu Reeves are among the stars who have sought projects here. So eager are American studios to crack the Chinese market that MGM recently edited Chinese villains out of the remake of Red Dawn, replacing them with North Koreans.

China is keen on promoting its soft power," Shen Dingli, professor at the Center for American Studies at Shanghai's Fudan University said in a telephone interview. Joint productions serve "the political purpose to promote our culture and systems with Hollywood's competence.

The animation park is clearly a priority for the central government, which included animation production in its current five-year national economic plan. Having rapidly increased its political and economic might globally, China is eager to boost its so-called soft power — its cultural appeal and influence — overseas.

Actually, the temple can enhance China's 'soft power' diplomacy and provides a more intriguing picture of the nation.....Although Abbot Shi Yongxin faces a great deal of criticism for commercializing the temple, he's bringing global attention to Chinese culture. Many famous Hollywood actors and American superstar athletes have visited the Shaolin Temple to learn from the kung fu monks.

The stakes are high for China as it seeks to penetrate the global film market. The government and private companies are pouring significant resources into the film industry; officials are eager to boost their country's cultural exports in a way that matches the already booming business in factory goods. Yet Chinese movies have remained a largely local affair, experts say.

The latest issue of PDiN Monitor delves into the concept of Film Diplomacy in China.

It's a country known for its stunning safari landscapes, long beaches and towering Mount Kilimanjaro. And according to documentary film-maker Nick Broomfield -- Tanzania is also the perfect natural film set. But though it has its own film festival, Zanzibar is paradoxically without a cinema. Broomfield is pledging his support for the renovation of a dilapidated art deco cinema in Stone Town.

Fatuous, clichéd or selective depictions of Bangkok by visiting filmmakers are so commonplace that foreign residents quickly stop registering them. What did puzzle me at first was why Thais weren't more upset by The Hangover Part II, and why the government of Thailand — which, as a major tourist destination, is rightly obsessed about its global image — allowed it to be filmed there.