Monday, October 3, 2016

FILMBAY 2000 Greatest Films of All-Time (1888-2014) by Year # 0044 - DINGJUNSHAN (Jingfeng Ren, 1905, China, BW)


DINGJUNSHAN (Jingfeng Ren, 1905, China, BW)
The Battle of Dingjunshan 1905


DINGJUNSHAN (Jingfeng Ren, 1905, China, BW)
The Battle of Dingjunshan 1905

The Battle of Dingjunshan is a 1905 Chinese film directed by Ren Qingtai (任庆泰) aka Ren Jingfeng (任景丰). The film was made by Beijing's Fengtai Photography (simplified Chinese: 丰泰照相馆; traditional Chinese: 丰泰照相館).
It was based on an episode in Luo Guanzhong's historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms and starred Tan Xinpei (simplified Chinese: 谭鑫培; traditional Chinese: 譚鑫培). It is sometimes translated as Conquering the Jun Mountain.

The film consisted of a recording of a Beijing opera performance of the Battle of Mount Dingjun and constitutes the first Chinese film ever made. The only print was destroyed in a fire in the late 1940s.

First Chinese Film: The Battle of Dingjunshan

Films were introduced into China at the end of the 19th century, and the market was mainly dominated by foreign films in the early period. It was not until November 1905 that the Chinese shot their first film, The Battle of Dingjunshan. It was adapted from a Peking Opera of the same title by the Beijing Fengtai Photo Studio and Tan Xinpei, a renowned performer of Peking Opera. The shooting of the film marked the official birth of Chinese cinema.

The film is a silent one and, according to requirements of silent movies, it only shot some action pictures such as "Asking for Fight", "Fighting with a Sword" and "Face to Face Fight ".

The producer of the film is Ren Jingfeng, who had studied photography in Japan. He bought a manual camera and 14 sets of films from a German merchant for the film. He hired Liu Zhonglun as his cameraman. The film was produced outdoors for three days without transcript or background. Though it was very coarse, the film marked the beginning of the China film history. It is a precious material for the study of China film and Peking Opera.

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