Styles, subjects, and special points of view: a study of contemporary Chinese independent documentary
Abstract:This study explores the origins, styles, problems, solutions, and possible future directions in Chinese independent documentary from a comparative perspective. I argue that Chinese independent (or underground) film-making actually started with independent documentary in the late 1980s and that the Chinese preference for the cinéma-vérité and interview styles represents an attempt to resist the propagandist, voice-of-God approach in the official news and documentary programming. However, self-erasure and misconceived objectivity typical of the earlier works engendered problems in documentary film-making, and a subsequent selfrepositioning in the late 1990s has reclaimed the subjective voice and readjusted the artist’s attitude toward their subjects. The call for returning to the personal is further exemplified in the current euphoria for DV works, and the idea of amateur film-making once again highlights the connection between independent documentary and its special points of view on ordinary people’s lives in a changing society.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of California at San Diego
Publication date: 2004-09-01
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