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  • 1.
    Pollacchi, Elena
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies.
    Extracting narratives from reality: Wang Bing's counter-narrative of the China Dream2017In: Studies in Documentary Film, ISSN 1750-3280, E-ISSN 1750-3299, Vol. 11, no 3, p. 217-231Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Wang Bing's work provides a peculiar example of 'engaged filmmaking' without being openly oppositional towards the Chinese state. Although not easily included in the category of activist filmmakers, Wang Bing conveys political statements undermining the rhetoric of the People's Republic of China. From Tiexi qu. West of the Tracks (2003) on the dismissal of the industrial district in Liaoning, to Three Sisters (2012) and 'Til Madness Do Us Part (2013), both shot in remote areas of Yunnan, his cinema can be read as a corpus of works that address the contradictions imbued in the rise of China as a super-power. They bear witness to inequalities, uneven development and - as most of Wang Bing's documentaries do - also testify to the changing conditions of labor in China and their impact on people's lives. His recent Bitter Money (2016), shot in a large textile district of Zhejiang, takes labor as its focus and reaches one of the centers of China's wealth. Through a discussion of Wang Bing's filmmaking and the trajectory articulated by his documentaries, this article argues that Wang Bing's cinema provides a striking counter-narrative to the 'China Dream', the slogan that epitomizes the current leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

  • 2.
    Pollacchi, Elena
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies, Chinese Studies.
    Spaces and bodies: The legacy of Italian cinema in contemporary Chinese film-making2014In: Journal of Italian cinema & media studies, ISSN 2047-7368, Vol. 2, no 1, p. 7-21Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Italian neorealist films had a strong impact on Chinese cinema since the founding of the PRC in 1949. Chinese directors of the 1980s and 1990s have looked at the works of Italian neorealist directors with renewed interest and Jia Zhangke’s early films have come to epitomize the lasting imprint of Italian Neorealism. This article investigates the influence of Italian neorealist tradition (and beyond) on Chinese filmmakers whose careers started after the turn of the century and whose works share a concern for the interplay of individuals and their surroundings. The essay also argues that space has a hermeneutic role for understanding the influence of Neorealism on certain recent Chinese narrative and documentary films. In line with the perception of an increasingly fragmented society, the impact of Italian directors on contemporary Chinese filmmakers such as Liu Shu, Li Ruijun and Wang Bing emerges as an on-going process of re-appropriation rather than the lasting imprint of master teaching. While textual or stylistic references may not always be immediately apparent, the influence of Italian directors on Chinese filmmaking becomes clearer after some close analyses of certain Chinese films in conjunction with an examination of the directors’ own observations.

  • 3.
    Pollacchi, Elena
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies, Chinese Studies.
    Wang Bing's cinema: shared spaces of labor2014In: WorkingUSA : The Journal of Labor and Society, ISSN 1089-7011, Vol. 17, no 1, p. 31-43Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Since the early 1990s, independent filmmakers have dealt with representations of labor to investigate China's rapid transformation. Since the turn of the century, the increasing awareness of the limits of cinematic representations to tackle the contradictions of the Chinese system has led to more challenging approaches, with Wang Bing's cinema among the most effective. This article focuses on Wang Bing's work and discusses it as “cinema of labor.” Indeed, since his long documentary Tiexi qu/Tiexi qu. West of the Tracks (2003), on the closing down of a huge industrial area in the northeastern region of Liaoning, Wang Bing's cinema has created a shared experience involving both the viewer and the filmmaker. For over a decade, he has revitalized the concept of cinema as a tool of investigation and social intervention as confirmed by his feature film on the eponymous labor camp Jiabiangou/The Ditch (2010). With his most recent documentaries San zimei/Three Sisters (2012) and Feng Ai/'Til Madness Do Us Part (2013), shot in the rural areas of the Yunnan Mountains and in the enclosed space of a mental asylum, he has further challenged the intersection of documentary and drama to expose the paradoxes of the fast-paced Chinese development.

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