World Film Locations: Beijing, edited by John Berra (lead writer here at VCinema) and Liu Yang, is the latest addition to the ground-breaking film studies series that considers the role played by cities in creating memorable movie-going experiences. With the emergence of China as a major economic power and popular tourist destination, this volume should of interest to any world cinema connoisseurs who are planning to visit the nation’s capital. Covering a wide range of films from local blockbusters, to independent visions, to international co-productions, World Film Locations: Beijing takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of places that have served as the setting for key scenes in modern cinema: 798 Art Zone, the Forbidden Palace, the Great Wall of China, Olympic Park, Purple Bamboo Park, the Temple of Heaven, and the various hutongs (alleys) that are steadily vanishing due to redevelopment. Back-streets, business districts, and social spaces are also considered to make this a thorough study of a city in a constant state of transition.
Scene reviews include such landmark titles as Chung Kuo – Cina (1972), Peking Opera Blues (1985), The Last Emperor (1987), The Blue Kite (1993), Farewell My Concubine (1993), East Palace West Palace (1996), Shower (1999), Beijing Bicycle (2001), Fish and Elephant (2001), Lan Yu (2001), Together With You (2002), Green Tea (2003), The World (2004), Oxhide (2005), Summer Palace (2006), and Beijing Taxi (2010). These entries are complemented by high-quality screen-grabs and recent photographs of the filming locations. Spotlight essays cover such diverse but equally relevant topics as physical conflict within the hidden courtyards of the city, the political significance of Beijing spaces, the social satire of Feng Xiaogang, the urban commentary of Zhang Yuan, and the production logistics of Sam Voutas’ sex shop comedy, Red Light Revolution (2010). This new volume should be a worthwhile addition to the plethora of recent texts on the subject of Chinese society. World Film Locations: Beijing will be published on September 15th by Intellect Books.
Around the publication date, VCinema will be running a related review series, so be sure to stay tuned!