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Sixth Generation Filmmakers: Confused Nomenclature, Artistic Nourishment, and the Death Complex

HAO Jian


Reviewing the cultural, ideological, and artistic environment in the 1980s, when the so-called ‘Sixth Generation’ filmmakers grew up, this article examines the process by which the Sixth Generation filmmakers acquired their name, as well as their current status, and analyses the adolescent memories of these filmmakers and the ‘death complex’ in their works. It attempts to suggest that the Sixth Generation does not exist in the sense of a style and school, as these filmmakers had very dissimilar creative styles and took on very different career paths. There is little overlap between Sixth Generation filmmakers and independent filmmakers in terms of their creative approaches. However, both groups have been besieged by pressure from film censorship and politically-charged criticism from post-colonial theorists in the Chinese context. Nowadays, many important Sixth Generation filmmakers have turned to main melody filmmaking.