The changes brought on by China's reforms from 1978 onwards have inevitably had a significant impact on the development of literature, the arts and the whole spectrum of culture. Contemporary Chinese films, too, have reflected this transition towards commercialization and internationalization, which has included constant changes in cultural policies and the economic conditions for film production. The articles in this volume argue that contemporary Chinese films display a profound shift in identity construction. They explore Chinese identities related to class, nation and gender, and highlight aspects of individual identity. All of these are marked by contradiction, tension, multiple versions, changes over time, and other evidence of contingency and construction. The articles draw attention to uncertain and unpredictable qualities of "Chineseness" which are often torn between past and present, but are also increasingly comprised of local, national, and global elements.
Klaus Mühlhahn is Professor of Chinese History and Culture at Freie Universität Berlin.
Clemens von Haselberg is Research Assistant at the Institute of East Asian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin.