China as documentary: Some basic questions (inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni and Jia Zhangke)


Journal Article

Juxtaposing Antonioni's Chung Kuo/Cina with discussions on photographic realism by Sontag, Bourdieu and Barthes, this article delineates the aesthetic, epistemic and cross-cultural problems that emerge when China is captured and viewed in the documentary mode. If the most acute of such problems is the gap between 'foreign observer' and 'native informant', whose claims to the reality in question tend to be incommensurable, would things be different if and when the filmmaker is Chinese? The work of Jia Zhangke offers an interesting provocation: as well as subjectivity and time, he makes mediality part of a consciously stylised gesture of documentary-making, turning the notion of 'China as documentary' into a new kind of conceptual project. © The Author(s) 2013.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Chow, R

Published Date

  • February 1, 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 17 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 16 - 30

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1460-3551

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1367-5494

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/1367549413501482

Citation Source

  • Scopus