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Documentaries Find New Chinese Audiences

Filmmakers are adapting their works for narrative-hungry audiences.

By Zhang Qingchen Updated Jun.19

Documentaries in China were traditionally a money-losing business, but of late they've become serious competitors with entertainment shows. That's because the audience has become more appreciative of high-quality work and filmmakers have learned to adapt to popular needs in recent years, according to Shanghai-based news site The Paper. 

The article noted that successful documentaries, such as Masters in the Forbidden City, A Bite of China and Aerial China match high-quality content with a skillful use of the vernacular. They learn from top-quality international work and use the best filming techniques, dropping the previous didactic tone of documentaries for a perspective based on ordinary people. For instance, Masters in the Forbidden City concentrates on the preservation of cultural relics, a serious topic, but focuses on natural settings and the lives of ordinary restorers working in the Palace Museum (better known as the Forbidden City.)