The lost legacy of the Chinese movie mag

Film magazines played a pivotal role during China’s movie industry boom, but fell into obscurity after the 1950s. A new book from Thames & Hudson explores their visual and cultural impact

Huaja Tejuan, “Wha Jet Engraving”. Issue #2 1927.09.10, Shanghai. One of just two issues of the magazine produced by Huaju/Wha Jet studio)

Chinese Movie Magazines, by Paul Fonoroff, draws on the author’s own personal collection of film publications, which he says rivals many of China’s own archives. Hundreds of magazines are featured in the book, which traces their evolution from the earliest days of the country’s movie industry, through political and social upheaval, and into their final demise at the hands of Chairman Mao.

Movie mags developed rapidly in the 1920s, when studios began opening in China and the country saw its first feature films. While Shanghai was earning its name as the Hollywood of the East, publications sprung up, some independent, and some released by the city’s large concentration of movie theatres. These magazines celebrated Hollywood productions as well as Chinese releases.

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