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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.

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Electronic reference

Esther M. K. Cheung, « Realisms within Conundrum », China Perspectives [Online], 2010/1 | 2010, Online since 01 April 2013, connection on 25 January 2020. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/chinaperspectives.5048

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