Realism is the mainstream of the development of China’s movies. In the climax of the creation of new films starting in the mid-1980s, a great number of excellent works emerged, such as Old Stories of the South of the City, Wild Mountain, A Town Called Hibiscus, The Inauguration of the People’s Republic of China and Decisive Battles, which reached a level never before attained in the depiction of life, variety of subjects, styles and forms, and the exploration and innovation of film language. The “fifth-generation” directors, including Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige and Huang Jianxin, arose during this period, becoming the focus of attention of the world’s movie circles.
The late 1990s saw the emergence of the “sixth-generation” directors born in the 1960s and 1970s, such as Wang Xiaoshuai, Zhang Yuan and Lou Ye. Their movies tend to reveal common people’s life in a realistic way. Director Feng Xiaogang keeps the box office record with his commercial movies, most of which are also stories of common people.
The Changchun and Shanghai international movie festivals are influential annual movie festivals in China. The “Golden Rooster Prize” is the top prize for Chinese films. The government has specially established the “Ornamental Pillar Prize” to encourage the development of mainstream movies. In addition, there is the “Hundred Flowers Prize,” awarded on the basis of the audiences’ votes.