China's film watchdog warns of quality issue amid soaring box office

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua News Agency, January 8, 2011
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As China's 2010 box office topped an unprecedented 10 billion yuan, the country's filmmakers are urged to be on guard regarding various problems in the industry, including a lack of humanity and increasing vulgarity.

"Chinese filmmakers must know that although box office is an essential index, it cannot reflect the overall situation of the country's movie industry. And it certainly cannot cover up all the problems," Tong Gang, head of the film bureau under the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said Friday at a news conference.

Figures from SARFT show that China's overall box office in 2010 reached 10.17 billion yuan (1.5 billion U.S. dollars), up 63.9 percent year on year.

Meanwhile, domestic Chinese films took in 5.73 billion yuan, or 56.3 percent of the total.

"Chinese films that can win critical acclaims and, at the same time, meet audiences' cultural demands are far from enough," Tong said, adding that a large number of the country's film products lack humanity, values, realism and aesthetic pursuits.

"Some filmmakers even hold the idea that "commercial" meant gore, violence, parody and vulgarity," Tong added.

Last year, director Feng Xiaogang's "Aftershock," a disaster drama focusing on the devastating 1976 Tangshan earthquake, grossed 673 million yuan, setting a new box office record in China.

However, compared with more than 600 Chinese films made in 2010, only 16, including "Aftershock," achieved a box office of more than 100 million yuan.

Tong said that the country's young filmmakers have yet to create influential works in order to enter mainstream cinema and win their own fans.` Further, Tong mentioned other problems plaguing the country's film industry, such as piracy, false box office figures and inadequate overseas sales, among others.

According to Tong, the film bureau will strengthen supervision of the country's cinemas and establish an open and transparent box office reporting system that will cover all cinemas as soon as possible.

In late December, the government ordered a crackdown on the pirated videos of two Chinese New Year blockbusters, "Let the Bullets Fly" and "If You Are the One II" in a bid to protect the industry.

In a statement, the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications, and the General Administration of Press and Publication, asked local market watchdogs to enhance market inspections to weed out illegal workshops producing pirated video products.

"Filmmaking is not simply a market behavior. It should also embody cultural values," Tong said.

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