World Film Locations: Beijing (Book)

Edited by John Berra and Liu Yang

The title of Li Yu’s film Lost in Beijing evokes the experience of many first-time visitors to China’s bustling capital. The city’s sprawling structure and rapid redevelopment – embodied by the high-rise apartments taking over historic districts – render Beijing’s streets hard to navigate and its culture is just as difficult to penetrate. World Film Locations: Beijing is a revealing and engrossing introduction to both.


In a series of spotlight essays and illustrated scene reviews, a cast of seasoned scholars and fresh new voices explore the vast range of films – encompassing drama, madcap comedy, martial arts escapism and magical realism – that have been set in Beijing. Unveiling a city of hidden courtyards, looming skyscrapers and traditional Hutong neighbourhoods, these contributors depict a distinctive urban culture that reflects the conflict and tumult of a nation in transition. With considerations of everything from the back streets of Beijing Bicycle to the forbidden palace of The Last Emperor to the tourist park of The World, this volume is a definitive cinematic guide to an ever-changing and endlessly fascinating capital city.

John Berra, a lecturer in film studies at Nanjing University, is the author of Declarations of Independence: American Cinema and the Partiality of Independent Production and the editor of the Directory of World Cinema: American Independent and the Directory of World Cinema: Japan.

Liu Yang is a lecturer in film studies at Nanjing University.


Scenes 1-8 1972 - 1993
Scenes 9-16 1993 - 1997
Scenes 17-24 1997 - 2001
Scenes 25-32 2001 - 2004
Scenes 33-39 2004 - 2007
Scenes 40-46 2007 - 2011


Beijing: City of the Imagination – John Berra

Confined Spaces: Conflict within the Squares and Courtyards of Qing Dynasty Beijing – Joann Huifen Hu

Feng Comedy: Beijingers in a Transitional – Era Liu Yang

Made in China: The Production of Red Light Revolution (Sam Voutas, 2010) – Sam Voutas

Navigating Beijing: Dreamers, Drifters and Drivers – Mariagrazia Costantino

The State of Things: Political Power in Beijing – Yomi Braester

Zhang Yuan’s Urban Cinema: Transitional Cityscapes and Peripheral Lives – Dave McCaig

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