Huang Jianxin, political economy of communication, fifth-generation, China’s film industry, Chinese economic reform
Among China’s fifth-generation film directors, Huang Jianxin probably stands out as the most distinctive one due to his avant-garde cinematic style and extremely critical content. After Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Tour in 1992, China’s economy embarked on a fundamental transformation, while Huang encountered foreign investment for the very first time and altered his production style in accordance. Since the new century, Huang has focused on producing films rather than directing, and his little directed works are no longer considered as avant-garde and critical as they were in the 1980s and 1990s. Furthermore, the main melody films, e.g., “The Founding of a Republic” and “Beginning of The Great Revival,” have seemed to cast a shadow over his cinema career. Given that complicated structure in China we briefed, this article seeks to revisit Huang’s creative trajectories and aesthetic thoughts from the political economy of communication, including the aspects of the production process, economic structure, and organizational change. The goals are two-fold: firstly, to remap the history of the Chinese film industry to explain why Huang was incorporated; secondly, to simultaneously comprehend similar tracks of other filmmakers in China, and the individual significance through this case/auteur study.