The Look, Hook, and Book with Chinese Characteristics of the New Mainstream Film The Battle at Lake Changjin (2021)

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


After decades of producing highly nationalistic films with varied success, China has broken the code for popularizing their nationalistic films with what is known as the new mainstream film. The Battle at Lake Changjin (2021) is an exemplary new mainstream film and has become China’s largest box office success. This article will examine The Battle at Lake Changjin through Wyatt’s (1994) model of the blockbuster film called high concept because it provides a structured perspective that the blockbuster concept lacks and the three components of the look, hook, and book relate well to the unique model of China’s new mainstream film. In doing so, the article will develop the high concept model for the unique context of the Chinese film industry where ‘art serves politics.’ The article finds that in the new mainstream film the hook of the star system and other selling points are highly reflexive of the original concept, with the new mainstream film’s inherent aspects of patriotic and nationalistic propaganda provides a new hook. The book part utilizes nationalistic stories that present and celebrate the Communist party’s perspective of society, China, and the world and utilizes Confucian forms of social order to project pride in the country, Chinese society, and the Communist Party. The look utilizes the traditional Hollywood concept of spectacle, such as a virtual camera special effect, which creates a cavalier perspective based on Chinese painting theory that creates a collective perspective on the story and action, which functions as ideological propaganda. In adapting the look hook, and book to the unique context of the new mainstream film, the article develops a new theoretical framework of the look, hook and book with Chinese characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFilm History and Screen Culture in and beyond Greater China
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • High Concept
  • New mainstream film
  • Lake Changjin
  • Chinese film industry
  • Blockbuster
  • Dapian


Dive into the research topics of 'The Look, Hook, and Book with Chinese Characteristics of the New Mainstream Film The Battle at Lake Changjin (2021)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this