Take Root in Reality and Look Up at Stars
In order to implement General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important instructions on literary and artistic work, and further promote high-quality growth of China film industry, the 13th BJIFF "Film Power Forum on Creativity — Exploration, Pursuit and Creation of Realistic Films” organized by the Central Academy of Drama was grandly convened on April 27 at Beijing Yanqi Lake International Convention & Exhibition Center.
Site of "Film Power Forum on Creativity — Exploration, Pursuit and Creation of Realistic Films”
Leaders and guests present include Chen Ning, Secretary of the Party Leadership Group and Executive Vice Chairman of the Beijing Federation of Literary & Art Circles; Li Xiaoming, Member of the Party Leadership Group and Vice President of Beijing Radio & Television Station, and Deputy Secretary General of the Organizing Committee of the 13th BJIFF; Anthony Chen, a Singapore director, screenwriter and producer; Dong Chengpeng, a director and actor; Feng Xiaoning, a director and screenwriter; Lu Yang, a director and screenwriter; Tan Zhuo, an actress and Yin Li, a director and screenwriter. Based on the study and interpretation of the spirit of the 5th Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee in 2021 and the major project of the National Social Science Found of China Research on Facilitating the Creation of “Superior” Theatrical, Film and TV Productions in Contemporary China (Project No.: 21ZDA078), the forum specially invited Hao Rong, chief expert of the project and President of Central Academy of Drama as guest moderator.
As Chairman Chen Ning said in her speech, realism is an important aesthetic tradition of Chinese films, and it will certainly become the direction for Chinese films on the way of developing into a film power. General Secretary Xi Jinping instructed us earnestly that literature and art cannot develop and get prosperous unless they take root in real life and keep up with the times, cannot become vigorous unless they comply with the wishes of the people and reflect their concerns. All filmmakers in China must stand with one heart and one mind with the CPC and forge ahead in the same direction with the times. They should also bravely shoulder the mission, continue to carry forward the realism tradition of Chinese films, record the great practices of Chinese people with excellent realistic films and eulogize the progress of the times.
In the discussion session of the forum, well-known film experts and practitioners from the front line of film industry discussed hot topics such as the realistic films, the creation of realistic films and the ideas of realistic creation, hoping to contribute more wisdom and strength to the building of a film power.
As Hao Rong pointed out, this forum focuses on the creation and construction of realistic works, establishes the goal of building Chinese discourse and Chinese narrative system, elaborates the relationship among artistic creation, reality and history, and reviews the distinctive people’s nature reflected in the development of realistic films. Meanwhile, he also analyzed the difference between realism and naturalism, the relationship between literary works and main theme, and the connection between nationality and internationalization. He said that we should conform to the overall plan of becoming a film power, continue to focus on the creation and construction of realistic works, promote the international spread of Chinese culture through the film development, strengthen the construction of Chinese discourse and Chinese narrative system, enhance the discourse power and influence of Chinese films in the world film pattern and continue to climb the “peak”.
Based on his own film creation experience, Singaporean director Anthony Chen explained how to interpret people's posture, emotion and state from the plot tension and form changes. He pointed out that creators should not repeat the themes expressed before; instead, they should constantly challenge new possibilities. Meanwhile, he also emphasized that "excellent film creators should always maintain a humble attitude. Only with the goal not to make serious mistakes in the filming can it be possible to create excellent film works." He believes that observing the details we occasionally encounter in life is more conducive to generating creative inspiration. Only by adhering to the “people-oriented" creation can the characters in the films become more vivid.
Dong Chengpeng, as a representative of the new generation of directors, has been keen on diversifying creative themes and film types in the past years. With regard to his creative career, he explained why he conducted creation by focusing on grassroots. He used to have various identities and roles, such as a media worker or a film practitioner. He has witnessed various faces of practitioners in different industries, so he pays special attention to the ordinary people around. Taking his new film Post Truth as an example, he proposed his own way of creation, that is, to substitute the emotions he perceives in life into the creation, and to feed empathy and touch back to the audience. He hopes to start from the perspective of realism and he is eager to discover more social value out of films. Meanwhile, he is also exploring the depth and breadth of comedy films as he deepens the creation, hoping to bring the audience more realistic masterpieces full of aftertaste as well as tear and laughter in the future.
From low-cost film production, director Feng Xiaoning talked about the growth status of young creators, and he believed that the young filmmakers should be “studious" and “confident” to create realistic films. Young filmmakers must first establish a concept of film history, learn from realist classics and integrate the essence of traditional culture with their own creations, so that they “are eager to learn more during the filming process". In addition, young filmmakers must humbly take root to the masses and collect the realistic inspiration from the improvisations of the masses. Meanwhile, he also talked about the "cultural self-confidence”. "Confidence comes from our fathers, our motherland and our culture." Looking back at history aims to keep pace with the times more steadily. In addition, in the spring of film industry recovery, the rise of Chinese films is inseparable from the support of all the audience. The people's call for excellent realistic works is just the source of confidence for all the filmmakers.
Actress Tan Zhuo shared the relationship between character creation and a film power from the perspective of performance and director. As she pointed out at the forum, excellent works are based on the accumulation of quantity and completed around the cognition, aesthetics and feelings of the film. She emphasized the uniqueness and importance of accumulation for the creation of film production. From the perspective of a filmmaker working at the front line of the industry, she said that every practitioner was looking forward to the building of a film power. From the economic and industry dimensions, she also explained that the realization of a film power depended on not only the impact of economic vitality, but also the output of high-quality films. Then, she talked about the importance of directors based on her identity as an actress. She pointed out that it is a big challenge for directors to take into account the screen, art, sound and other aspects, which demands the crossover of multiple disciplines. Therefore, the exchanges are even more important. On this basis, she said that it was important to "communicate" with the characters with a humble heart according to her experience of an actress interpreting many film and television images.
From his creative attitude, director Lu Yang pointed out that excellent film works need the sincere attitude of the creators. He pointed out, "We should understand the difficulty of creating excellent films and we must be in awe of films." Later, with regard to the way of presenting works around realism, he pointed out, "In fact, every film carries the color of realism. Perhaps it is not a real story, but it must originate from the reality." He keeps exploring how to create realistic works in combination with the stereotyped filmmaking. He also emphasized that the reason why excellent film works can attract audiences is that they can bring new sensory experience with unique audio-visual language, which can broaden the audience's thinking dimension and thus produce resonance in an emotional and cognitive manner.
From the history of realist classic films since the founding of New China, Director Yin Li sorted out the historical logic of the birth of excellent works based on the leapfrog development of Chinese film industry in the past years. He vividly clarified the importance of excellent realistic films to the people's lives, and put forward suggestions for the strategy of a film power from the perspectives of industrial system, stereotype and diversity of film industry chain. In terms of the creation of "new mainstream films” nowadays, he focused on the changes and immutability of the times as well as the needs of audience, and proposed that the experience of creating excellent realistic films should be carried on. "We are living in the modern era and we should focus on the real life and record it with camera." He believes that the creator's sincerity to the theme, the sense of mission to the times and the personal life experience should always be the light of hope for realistic films.
Before the forum came into conclusion, Hao Rong pointed out that what we, as the inheritors, should do to achieve an orderly inheritance, how to create excellent film and television works with the characteristics of the new era and how to carry out the socialist core values based on the tradition of promoting realism.
Group photo at the forum