Skip to navigation – Site map

HomeIssues2010/1Independent Chinese Cinema: Filmi...Realisms within Conundrum

Independent Chinese Cinema: Filming in the "Space of the People"

Realisms within Conundrum

The Personal and Authentic Appeal in Jia Zhangke’s Accented Films
Esther M. K. Cheung


With persistent efforts on constructing personal and collective memories arising from the unprecedented transformations in post-socialist China, Jia Zhangke has produced an ensemble of realist films with an impressive personal and authentic appeal. This paper examines how his films are characterised by a variety of accents, images of authenticity, a quotidian ambience, and a new sense of materiality within the local-global nexus. Within a tripartite model of truth, identity, and performance, Jia’s oeuvres demonstrate the powerful performativity of different modes of realism arising out of a state of conundrum when China undergoes a transition from planned economy into wholesale marketisation and globalisation.

Top of page


Electronic reference

Esther M. K. Cheung, “Realisms within Conundrum”China Perspectives [Online], 2010/1 | 2010, Online since 01 April 2013, connection on 21 July 2024. URL:; DOI:

Top of page


The text and other elements (illustrations, imported files) are “All rights reserved”, unless otherwise stated.

Top of page
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search