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The Preconditions for Chinese Independent Cinema in the 1980s

Chris Berry Translator: Emma WEI


Reflecting on my experiences working for China Film Export and Import Corporation in Beijing in the mid-1980s, this short essay identifies pre-conditions for the emergence of Chinese independent cinema in the 1990s. They include: the loss of faith in the command economy model of socialism; curiosity about the outside world in general and the outside film world in particular; the continued job and housing security of the danwei (单位work unit) system; emergent private enterprise; the introduction of a market-driven ‘manager responsibility’ system into the state-owned sector, including the film industry; the model provided by independent artists; and support from foreign friends in Beijing.