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Contemporary Chinese Cinema: The Year So Far

Contemporary Chinese Cinema is a column devoted to exploring contemporary Chinese-language cinema primarily as it is revealed to us at North American multiplexes.Over the last few years it has become increasingly easy to see mainstream Asian films in North America at the same time they are released in their home countries. Thanks to partnerships with small, international distributors, the major multiplex chains (AMC, Cinemark, Regal) have devoted a handful of screens in major markets to showing new releases from India, Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Most of these titles fall under the radar of both critics and audiences outside the diasporic communities to which they are targeted. They play for a week or two and then disappear, outside of a handful of breakout titles. Last year Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid made headlines for its high per-screen averages in North America as it shattered domestic box office records in China.

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