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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 7, 2022

Tonghua” Theory and a Holistic View of Chinese Films

Daoxin Li


Similar to “Kongqi” (air) theory, “Tonghua” (assimilation) theory describes the holistic thought and aesthetic spirit of Chinese films. From “Zihua” (self-enlightenment), “Huaren” (enlightening people), to “Tonghua” (assimilation), “Tonghua” theory describes an approach to film thinking that transcends the barriers of race and class as well as the binary opposition of evolution and degeneration and enters the free realm of film thought and aesthetic representation through the subject’s introspection and persuasion in body and mind as well as the communication and interaction between on-screen and off-screen. Based on both creative practice and theoretical criticism, “Tonghua” theory concerns all aspects between human and universe, human and nature, human and human, and the whole process from film production to consumption. Through the operational mechanism of mutual attraction, induction, and connection, an atmosphere of enlightenment and harmony is achieved through the unity of nature and human beings, providing endless vitality and empathic resonance in Chinese films.

Corresponding author: Daoxin Li, Peking University, Beijing, China, E-mail:

Funding source: China National Social Science Research Project in Arts

Award Identifier / Grant number: 19BC033

  1. Research funding: The research of this article is supported by the China National Social Science Research Project in Arts “Study on the Chronology of Filmmakers and Chinese Film History” (Grant number: 19BC033).


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Published Online: 2022-07-07
Published in Print: 2022-05-25

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