Independent Chinese Documentary: Alternative Visions, Alternative Publics

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Edinburgh University Press, 2015 - Documentary films - 204 pages
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Since the turn of the twenty-first century there has been an explosion in Chinese independent documentary filmmaking. But how are we to understand this vibrant burst of activity? Are these films brave expressions of dissidence, or are they part of a broader, more complex push to expand the terms of public discourse in the People's Republic?
Considering the relationship between independent documentaries and China's official film and television sectors, this timely study explores the ways in which independent films probe, question and challenge the dominant ideas and narratives circulating in the state-sanctioned public sphere.
Based on detailed interviews with Chinese documentary filmmakers that are rarely available in English, the author draws on his own insights as a journalist working in Beijing to provide a detailed analysis of key contemporary documentaries. This groundbreaking book reveals a sustained attempt to forge an alternative public sphere, where the views and experiences of petitioners, AIDS sufferers, dispossessed farmers and the victims of Mao's repression can be publicly aired for a small but steadily growing public.
About the series: Edinburgh Studies in East Asian Film tackles all aspects of East Asian cinema, encompassing its major genres, its leading auteurs, links between regional cinematic traditions and the growth of transnational cinema.

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About the author (2015)

Dan Edwards has published over 70 articles on film and media in Australian newspapers and magazines. He worked as a magazine writer in Beijing, China from 2007-11, before completing a PhD in film and television at Monash University in 2014. Prior to living in China he worked for the Communications Branch of the Australian Film Commission and was the editor of the OnScreen section of RealTime arts magazine. He now lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he teaches film at the University of Melbourne and Monash University.

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