See the Film Globalization in China via Wolf Totem

To foster greater understanding through world cinema is one of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s missions. This year, 72 Foreign Language films were submitted for Golden Globes consideration. Here, an overview of one successful case of them can be found.


The film Wolf Totem is adapted by a novel written by Lu Jiamin and to somehow it has a political theme. Chinese Film Group decided to finance this film with Jean-Jaques Annaud at the helm. But at the same time, they asked the French director to omit any references to politics and to focus on the topic of human and nature. Here is an amazing sequence in film – when the horses are being chased by the wolves in a snowy blizzard.


The film has some stunning cinematography capturing the snowy vistas of the plain of Mongolia. Wolf Totem was made for forty million dollars and has been received favorably in the country and abroad. The film also reflects the ever-growing trend toward the globalization of cinema. China, in particular, is attracting European directors and production companies to make films for their market. Anyway, Wolf Totem is a good start. Already a few European directors are turning to China for their finances rather than to Hollywood.

“Today co-productions are less about culturally relevant materials, but focus exclusively on popular genres. (Baltruschat, 2002, p2)

The primary model of Sino-French film cooperation is the art film invested and distributed by the French artists. This kind of literary film with French capital and its market not only successfully find the overseas distribution channels, but also win the space to move on. However, the recent Sino-French films have many artistic commonalities, which integrate the French artistic taste and cultural characteristics on the basis of the localization of Chinese narrative. Due to the late 1970s, Andre Bazin’s theory of documentary aesthetics and French New Wave film were introduced into our country. As the theory “film is the asymptote line of reality” spread (Bazin, 1968), Chinese documentary aesthetics film had been deeply influenced. So, one of these films’ features is that they pay more attention to real-life story rather than fictional one. The plot conflict is relatively small which in line with the logic of life. And they also maintain the tradition of Chinese and French documentary aesthetics. Besides, the Sino-French films focus on using culture as a “symbol”, which means this kind of films are based on Chinese culture, but decorated with French elements.

The high-speed growth, excellent quality and better market channels of film globalization bring Chinese cinema a fresh and great potential. For contemporary China, who keen on cultural output, the film is not only the sample of film production but also the example of cultural transmission; the globalization process will be one of the most popular part of Chinese cinema in the future.

Written by Yuehan Zhu


  1. Baltruschat. D. (2002). Globalization and International TV and film co-productions: In search of new narratives. Media in Transition,
  2. Souza.N.D (2015). Foreign Film Submissions, 2015: Wolf Totem (China). GoldenGlobesAwards. Available from [Accessed 3 February 2017].


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s