And now Hollywood is selling its soul to the woke with non-white quotas for performers, writers, technical personnel, and only movies with the appropriate social message will be permitted.
What’s missing: originality, engaging story-telling, entertainment.
Don’t expect China to make up the deficit. China is very good at exporting clothes, toys, electronics, appliances, pharmaceuticals, but it doesn’t do creative arts. Those are much too risky lest they fail to cleave to the official party line.
It will turn out badly for Hollywood in the end. But in the meantime we must live through an entertainment drought. I feel sorry for the latest generation of creatives who must hustle for indie funding.
Ah, well, thank goodness for Korean movies and the brooding, introspective European filmmakers. They haven’t sold out–yet.
“China is very good at exporting clothes, toys, electronics, appliances, pharmaceuticals, but it doesn’t do creative arts.”
it’s turned into one of their most ardent priorities, though. The Chinese government has noticed their weakness there and they are trying to remediate it (However alien the concept of a government sponsored creative sector can feel to us westeners).
Real art communicates something profoundly moving directly to its consumers that transcends (and may even be counter to) its overt semantic content.
I don’t see bureaucracy satisfying formulae ever producing anything but sterile rubbish that invokes an overwhelming feeling of “so what!”
I fear we’re heading straight to to watching “Ow My b***s” while drinking Brawndo.
If freedom of expression is not allowed everything must be force fit into the required message. The range of real sensibilities must then been moderated. How can creativity be included in that?
Time for Hollywood to get a bloody nose… too many people earning too much money and too big for their boots.
Don’t forget the whole “lived experience” nonsense, too…
So are the independent film makers producing films that reference Chinese human rights, Tibet or Taiwan?
In this case, China is correct. There is nothing attractive about a culture that has no self-respect.
True self-respect and confidence go hand-in-hand with an ability to openly reflect, and take criticism.
Whereas there’s lots to praise about a culture that frowns on gays.
China only allows 34 western-made films to be distributed there each year. Despite that, as of last year, the Chinese market officially overtook the US as the world’s largest box-office, all but guaranteeing that studios will continue to do everything they can to get access to that market. Any plotline or content that might offend the Chinese Govt is removed – or the studio loses the chance to put any of its films into their nearly 80 thousand screens. (The US, by comparison, has just over 40 000)
But it’s hardly as though Hollywood is alone in its kow-towing to China, in the hope of material benefit.
Our political parties, our cultural institutions, our universities and our media, have all sought to benefit from a relationship with China – yet few seem to question what they expect in return.
The UK and most European states are completely in thrall to Chinese money. What price European solidarity? Well the Chinese know the price to undermine it and are more than willing to pay it.
The EU issued warnings against any member nation getting “gently ensnared” by BRI – China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the massive global infrastructure program that will trap signatories in unsustainable debt and thus give Beijing crushing leverage and influence over them.
For all the united face the EU (laughably) presents to the world: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Portugal, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have all signed up to the BRI. And most recently the Italians, with their desperate economy, have also signed, in the hope they may see some crumbs fall from Beijing’s table.
But aside from the brute force approach of buying their way into controlling a country’s critical infrastructure, there is the more subtle and insidious element to the Chinese Govt’s reach and power. Political and business leaders who wish to benefit from a relationship with China know the best way, the only way, to achieve it, is to cosy up to the regime and speak and act on their behalf. Beijing have willing shills aplenty.
When News Corp was seeking to develop business interests in China, Rupert Murdoch knew he had to toe the line and so started undermining the toast of New York & Hollywood elite, the Dalai lama. Murdoch did, admittedly, come up with a pretty good line, calling him “a political monk in Gucci slippers”.
Our universities, since deciding they were to be run as businesses rather than places of scholarship, need Chinese students and Chinese sponsorship – and thus any lecture or research that is critical of China is practically banned. China’s influence over Cambridge University is so deep that Madeline Grant over at the Telegraph rather amusingly asked “how long until Jesus College is renamed “Xi-sus”?”
If you can influence our educational institutions, the media and the movies then you can tell whatever story you want. As ever, China plays the long game, and plays it well.
And yet the western liberal media endlessly bleat about China’s (or Russia’s) unhealthy influence and designs on the West – right alongside editorials that repeatedly refuse to support any Western counterweight to it.
They recognise the danger but cravenly appease them – just to avoid appearing belligerent – imagining that if we don’t poke the bear, or pull the dragon’s tail, then maybe they won’t eat us.
We’ve all seen that movie – it doesn’t end well!
Indeed. The entire Imperium sold its soul to the CCP when the cash started gleaming. Ben Domenech is fond of calling it The Cathedral, but really, with their choke hold on institutions, we should just skip straight to Imperium. All the wealth and power and influence in the world.
“…slavishness to the CCP was for nothing” applies to a lot more than just Hollywood. Capitalism delinked from free markets, free exchange of ideas, and individual freedoms, loses all of its creativity, and its power to lift society. No surprise we can now see that loss most graphically in the creative industries.
The sooner Hollywood is nothing but embers the better. For decades it has had a disastrous stranglehold on movies, infecting the world with its creatively and morally bankrupt fare. This is good news as far as I am concerned. Forcing postmodernist, thoughtless tripe on me while giving the commies a sanitised LGBT and ghost free version of their films was always rank hypocrisy. As Johnny Rotten once sang, “burn Hollywood burn”.
Articles like this are why I subscribe to Unherd. Really interesting and eye-opening. I hope that Chinese journalist is ok. I’m not overly optimistic though after hearing about the disappearance of Jack Ma. If they can do it to him they can do it to anyone. What an appalling country.
Stars ought to emulate the courage of Richard Gere
Fundamentally, perhaps he just wanted to get off the hamster wheel.
Wasn’t it a cigar tube & jerbal?
Perhaps, but the hamster was easier to slip in.
‘Slip’ being the operative word.
Hollywood has always been selling “soft power”, it saying to the poor benighted rest of the world, “hey, you guys, look at us, look our big cars, look at out big houses, our cities, our wide-open spaces, our clothes our food – you too can have this if you embrace all we are”. Yes there were films like “I am a fugitive from a Chain-Gang” and “Grapes of Wrath”, but most of their fare was aimed at celebrating American culture, even their gangster films are often glamourous. I’m not saying that I have anything against this, but I wouldn’t condemn the Chinese for doing the same.
The silver lining is that US movie makers will pivot back to domestic audiences. I for one am bored out of my mind by the drivel nowadays anyways. This pressure for them to go after foreign dollars is drying up. And for those worried they will crash, I would Not expect a Chinese firm to buy up a Hollywood studio as they are single minded in Chinese audiences only. A Chinese Studio on Domestic soil would not perform very well due to tight Chinese gov’t direction (unlike say Sony Pictures).
Realistically there is money to be made back at home that has been left high and dry with sequel after sequel. These latest movies are made for foreign audiences who may be interested in basic plot devices or plot devices that transfer well to low dialogue movies.
Agreed, but their ideological bent will prevent them from doing the right thing.
We don’t need more entertainment containing the requisite happy homosexual couple, black lead actor, strong female character and loathsome white male all denigrating Judeo-Christian values.
Do the Chinese make comedy films?
Oooooflung Dung meets Fu Manchu?
I think the most disturbing piece of information in this story is the success of a film that is directly about the Chinese army fighting America.