Nearly two decades have passed since the first Fifth Generation films, One
and Eight and Yellow Earth, were made in 1983 and 1984. During this time,
Fifth Generation cinema has undergone enormous changes both as an art
movement and in terms of individual filmmakers’ styles.
When discussing film movements from different places and times, we
always use the stylistics and aesthetics of their classic periods to determine
their characteristics and assess their contributions to film art. For example,
Italian neorealism reigned as an artistic movement for about seven years
after World War II, from 1945 to 1952. Visconti, De Sica, and Zavattini
continued to make films after that, but they cannot be seen as neorealist.
The French New Wave is a similar case in point. From this perspective,
we can say that the classic period of Fifth Generation cinema lasted from
1983 to 1989. It was during this time that Fifth Generation cinema’s politi-
cal rebelliousness, cultural marginality, and artistic innovation were most
pronounced, and its antitraditional cinematic style and composition were
particularly evident. Therefore, I believe this was both the initial creative
period of Fifth Generation cinema and the period that defines it as an art
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