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Book chapter

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The international film musical

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Edinburgh University Press


The musical is not the first genre that springs to mind when considering film entertainment in China. Given the primacy of opera (xiqu, drama and songs), the musical genre is both foreign and improbable. Compared to opera films, or other popular genres such as martial arts and costume drama, the musical is a minor genre because of its relatively fewer numbers, economical production and near-disappearance from contemporary screens. That the musical is mostly seen as a definitive Hollywood from hinders its embeddedness in Chinese screens. From the beginning, musicals in China were entangled with Western forms and thus unlikely to qualify as national cinema, despite the importance of opera and popular songs in Chinese life. That said, there remains a diverse body of loosely defined musicals in Chinese languages, enough to make a compelling contribution to the musical in an international frame. Further, Chinese musicals are fascinating precisely because of their artistic transfigurations of native and foreign styles, including those from Hollywood and beyond.

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Copyright © Authors, 2012

Additional Information

ISBN of the source publication: 9780748634767



Recommended Citation

Yeh, E. Y.-y. (2012). China. In C. K. Creekmur & L. Y. Mokdad (Eds.), The international film musical (pp. 171-188). United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press.

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