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Chinese martial arts is globally known, and Chinese Kung Fu films have become the face of most Chinese cinema. But the country has also produced many other successful genres of films, most of which remain unknown to the world. What is the reason behind it?
Bruce Lee, the late famous Kung Fu actor, sparked a major surge of interest in Chinese martial arts in the West in the 1970s. His films elevated traditional Kung Fu movies to a new level of popularity and acclaim.
According to the Box Office Mojo website, four Chinese Kung Fu movies including "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Hero", "Jet Li's Fearless" and "Kung Fu Hustle" are in the top 10 of all foreign language movies from 1980 to present. Kung Fu movies are always the bestsellers of Chinese films in the West.
But not all chinese movies are as successful. "Aftershocks", a film based on the Tangshan earthquake, was one of the highest grossing films in the Chinese market in 2010, but it only received about 63 thousand US dollars in America.
Li Huailiang, dean of Comm. Univ. of China, said, "We should use western people's ways to tell Chinese stories. But in fact, we're not doing well on this point."
The same year, another Chinese martial arts film "The Karate Kid", co-produced by China and the US, entered the international film market. The box office of this low budge film reached about 20 million US dollars abroad. In the film, a 12-year-old boy from Detroit moves to Beijing, and learns Kung Fu from a Chinese master for self-defense. This kind of story seems to overcome the barrier between different nationalities and warm people's heart.
Zhou Tiedong, gen. manager of China Film Promotion Int'l, said, "Our movies should tell the stories about Chinese people, as human beings, which can arouse echoes among people all over the world."
In 2012, the Chinese blockbuster "Flowers of War", directed by Zhang Yimou, was selected as the Chinese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film in 84th Academy Awards, but didn't make the final shortlist. The country is getting closer, but to make an international mark, Chinese film makers still have a long way to go.