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The New Chinese Documentary Film MovementFor the Public Record$
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Chris Berry, Xinyu Lu, and Lisa Rofel

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789888028528

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888028528.001.0001

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Blowup Beijing: The City as a Twilight Zone

Blowup Beijing: The City as a Twilight Zone

(p.98) (p.99) 6 Blowup Beijing: The City as a Twilight Zone
The New Chinese Documentary Film Movement

Paola Voci

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter examines the Beijing of the New Documentary Movement. Its title reflects two main traits of Beijing documentaries: their tendency to blow up or highlight the city's marginal inhabitants while also emphasizing their often barely visible locations. With allusions to Michelangelo Antonioni and the eponymous television series of the 1960s, the discussion examines an arguably central feature of Chinese documentaries: their tendency to highlight the barely visible locations of Beijing's marginal inhabitants. By focusing on Swing in Beijing (1999), Night Scene (2004), and Paper Airplane (2001), it analyzes the relationship between performance and dissent and the development of contested realism as the visual mode for the unfitting. Unlike the conventional images of Beijing, these films make accessible an unofficial, unconventional, and unlikely Beijing.

Keywords:   Beijing documentary, Chinese documentary, marginal inhabitants, Swing in Beijing, Night Scene

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