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Cinema was introduced to China in 1896. In 1905 Dingjun Mountain, the filming of a Peking opera routine, was shot in China. The Tested Couple, written and directed by Zheng Zhengqic in 1913, is usually regarded as China's first feature film. Between the l930s and l940s, a number of films of ideological value and psychological import were produced, such as Crossroads, Angels of the Street, The Spring River Flows East, and Eight Thousand Li of Cloud and Moon. Bridge. a feature film produced in 1949 by the Northeast Film Studio (later changed to the Changchun Film Studio), laid the foundations for the cinema in New China. The White-Haired Girl, The Lin Family 's Shop, On the Threshold of Spring, Sisters on Stage, and A Bed Detachment of Women, all produced in the l950s and the l960s, unroll like a painted scroll illuminating the broad passage of the recent past realistically and in a distinctly Chinese way, while still allowing expression of the artist's individuality. This technique and flavour have been very well received by popular audiences in China. Excellent films produced after 1977 include Happiness Knocks on the Door, A Tale of Tianyun Mountain, The Birth of New China, Everything is Clear at Forty, The Great Decisive Campaign, and Grandpa Shangang the Accused. Winners of various international awards include such feature films as My Memories of Old Beijing, Red Sorghum, The Year of Bad Luck, Celebrating the Spring Festival, Yellow Earth, Qiuju Goes to Court and Phoenix Guitar-The Story of Some Rural Teachers.

Documentaries, science and education films and animated cartoons made in China are all distinctive in their own way. Chinese animated films thematically and stylistically displayed an energetic vivacity, and are made in a variety of distinctively Chinese styles. The puppet film The Magic Paintbrush, the papercut film Ginseng Girl, he animated ink-wash film The Tadpole Looks for His Mother, and the cartoons Uproar in Heaven and When the Snipe and the Clam grapple have won many awards at international film festivals.

In 1995, China had 30 feature film studios approved by the State :council which produced 146 feature films and distributed 204 new, full-length films.

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