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Chinese Film and TV
Introduction to Chinese Film and TV

On this page we will give you a lot of information concerning films and TV in general. If you aren't interested in us rabbiting-on and just want our film guides with free online film links go here:
Chinese Films

Kung Fu Films

Chinese Films and Television are similar to those found in other countries, but have their own idiosyncrasies. Lets look in general at some specifics and misapprehensions:

1. Viewing Guidelines
We do not think there is any specific classification system for films and general media, although most films will have a version of a Western screening system.

Violence is allowed to a great extent and may involve vivid and graphic displays of blood. Fighting as in Kung Fu is very common. Foul language is also common, but may be excluded from subtitles. Sex is always implied and never shown - reminiscent of old Black and White movies, Casablanca being a prime example. Even kissing in a public area is taboo, as it is in real life. Children's films that are made for children and do not contain any unwarranted content

2. Censorship
This applies more to news bulletin's and some documentaries; and is equally applicable to printed matter. Contrary to popular belief, the Chinese Government do not actually censor anything. Instead they have a small dedicated team who set 'Guidelines', which are usually of a broad rather than specific nature. Media companies who broadcast and distribute programme's and films are left to themselves to interpret the censorship guidelines, and to apply local censorship themselves should they think it is necessary. Of course, behind this lies the very real threat that if they get the censorship level wrong, then they could loose their licence. Therefore they tend to be over cautious

CCTV (China Central Television) is the state television channel, and offers some 30 channels in various languages including: English, Arabic, French, Spanish and has just added Russian. They set the benchmark concerning censorship, and most other companies follow their lead

One frustrating aspect concerns foreign channels, especially those from Hong Kong in English, is that they are overzealous regarding censorship of news. Hence for news regarding the recent unrest in Urumqi (August 2009), we have to tune into CCTV9, as this is blanked by our local cable supplier - at least until such time as it is old and well know news

3. Subtitles
Virtually all Chinese television and film is accompanied by Mandarin subtitles. Whilst this may at first sight appear totally stupid, it is actually very good. It means that all Chinese can understand what is happening, regardless of their Mandarin ability. In some parts of China, Mandarin (Although the State language taught in schools) may actually be the third language spoken by a region or ethnic group. The subtitles are there for inclusion of all Chinese peoples.

Cantonese subtitles are common in certain areas such as Hong Kong and Guangdong. This specifically relates to movies and music. In our experience: 90% of Kung Fu films, 40% of all films, and 60% of popular international Chinese music will have Cantonese subtitles, not Mandarin. This is regardless of which language the song or film is actually performed in!

English and Arabic subtitles are also quite common, depending upon which part of China you are viewing from. These are usually in addition to Mandarin subtitles - which can prove very useful for those studying the language

Films when purchased as DVD's will come with a suite of languages and subtitles

4. Languages
The standard language is of course Mandarin, but regional variations and specific channels cater for other Languages and especially local dialects of the area

5. Television
Chinese television offers a good selection of programmes in many languages. Although terrestrial TV does exist, it is virtually defunct and offers few channels. Most television is via cable and 150 to 200 channels are available to view. Most are included in the basic package, but some such as ESPN (HK) Sports are available for a minimal extra charge.

Satellite TV is also quite common, but may not be permitted in city high rise blocks. Satellite offers an even greater choice of channels, and the price is very competitive. Locally in Foshan, Satellite offers over 30 English channels, including BBC, Discovery, Sky Cinema and Movie Max. There are also dedicated sports channels etc

Chinese television offers a varied schedule on main channels, with news, sports, weather, sit-com's and soaps, films, serials, kids TV, documentaries etc. The two Hong Kong channels, ATV and TVB also offer similar in English, and they are similar to British TV in many ways. They also show movies and leading serials such as: 24, Lost, Prison Break, CSI (All versions), House, Grey's Anatomy ... and many others.

Catch-up TV
This is offered by Pearl (TVB) and offers you the chance to watch anything popular as shown over the last 5 years or so. The only restriction being you cannot watch something until it has been aired for the first time. Whilst their media player isn't the best, it is a great resource. For full listings please use the drop down menu on the page linked below under 'Please Select'

Watch Catch-up TV now

6. Films
Films are available from all over the world, and usually include: Chinese Films, Chinese language films (Asian Origin, Hollywood films, Notable world cinema such as Bombay Slumdog Millionaire.

7. DVD's
DVD is the most popular and common media format, and especially useful for offering a wide selection of languages and subtitles. DVD's sold in shops do not have any stupid 'Region' restrictions (A ruse for rich companies to make even more money), so they will normally play on any type of player

8. Other Media
China has a plethora of modern media devices, and films can appear in a variety of formats. VHS video is still around, but this is obsolete nowadays. VCD's and HVCD's are quite common and cheaper, but you often need several to watch a full movie. DVD and DVD 9 are by far the most common formats for purchase, whilst various compression portals like our preferred offer streaming and online solutions
Related Pages:

Chinese Films - General Introduction with some links
Kung Fu Films - With links to famous stars and short biography
Chinese Television - Generalised look at what sort of programs are aired
• Introduction - This page
This information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably supported by our friends and various internet portals:

As far as we are aware, all information and downloads are either reproduced here with expressed permission, or obtained from reliable free resources, and comply with International Property Rights.

Please contact us 'Now' if you think there is a problem, and we will rectify the situation immediately
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