18. From Urban Films to Urban Cinema

The Emergence of a Critical Concept

  1. Yingjin Zhang2,3
  1. Yomi Braester

Published Online: 2 JUL 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444355994.ch18

A Companion to Chinese Cinema, A

A Companion to Chinese Cinema, A

How to Cite

Braester, Y. (2012) From Urban Films to Urban Cinema, in A Companion to Chinese Cinema, A (ed Y. Zhang), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444355994.ch18

Editor Information

  1. 2

    University of California, San Diego, USA

  2. 3

    Shanghai Jiaotong University, China

Author Information

  1. University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 2 JUL 2012
  2. Published Print: 19 MAR 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444330298

Online ISBN: 9781444355994



  • urban films to urban cinema, as a genre in mainland China;
  • Braester and contradictions, Urban Cinema and New Urban Cinema;
  • “Urban Cinema” (chengshi dianying) around 1986, a new trend;
  • Ning Ying's Beijing trilogy – For Fun, On the Beat, and I Love Beijing;
  • Chinese urban films, biting and cutting-edge, against the official line;
  • pervasive shots of protagonists, POV, over-the-shoulder, and tracking shots;
  • Fifth Generation focus of the countryside, leaving an Urban Cinema mark;
  • Urban Cinema, post-Maoist film into a form of social criticism;
  • The New Urban Cinema, market forces, films on the rise on urban themes;
  • New Urban Cinema, Spring Subway, indicative of a New Urban Cinema


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Urban Films: Major Themes and Concerns

  • Toward a Distinct Visual Idiom

  • The Emergence of Urban Cinema as a Subject of Discourse

  • Genre Trouble

  • The New Urban Cinema