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Cinema of Jia Zhangke, The: Realism and Memory in Chinese Film
Published by I.B.Tauris
A new study of leading Chinese director Jia Zhangke's cinema, focussing on his often realist aesthetic and his representation of China past and present.
Despite his films being subjected to censorship and denigration in his native China, Jia Zhangke has become the country's leading independent film director internationally. Seen as one of world cinema's foremost auteurs, he has been playing a crucial role in documenting and reflecting upon his country's era of intense transformations since the 1990s.This book offers innovative scholarship and in-depth analysis of Jia's unique body of work from his opening act Platform, to experimental quasi-documentary 24 City through to the audacious addition of Mountains May Depart. Drawing on classic and contemporary realism theory, it suggests that his particular expression of the realist mode is greatly shaped by the aesthetics of other Chinese artistic traditions. These traditions allow Jia to unearth memories both personal and collective, still lingering within the ever-changing landscapes of contemporary China. Interweaving issues relating to cinema, painting, architecture, opera, pop music, literature, geography and history, chapters address the very nature of the so-called 'impure' cinematographic art and in addition the complex representation of China through the ages. Proving of value to students and scholars of film studies and to admirers of Jia's work, this book opens the door into Chinese cinema and culture at a time when the country is at the centre of the world's attention.
IntroductionThe Walls of China: Between Ephemerality and PermanencePing Yao's City Walls and the Architectural Weight of HistoryPop Music, Memory and Authorship: The Emergence of the 'I'Landscape Painting, Chinese Philosophy and the Aesthetic Innovation of Still LifeCinema, Opera and China's Imagined 'Civilisation'Photographic Poses and Still Lives: Stillness and the Moving ImageChinese Garden ArchitectureConcluding Thoughts: A History Made of Facts and Imagination
Cecilia Mello is Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Sao Paulo. She has written previously on Jia Zhangke in book chapters and articles, and she is the co-editor of Realism and the Audiovisual Media (2009; paperback 2013) with Lucia Nagib.
Reviewer: Nicolas Levi
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