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From the Voice of God to the Self-Reflexive Voice: The Transformation of Narrative Style in Chinese Independent Documentary

UC Berkeley's Center for Chinese Studies presents a discussion by Luo Xianyong on the transformation in style of contemporary Chinese independent documentaries.

June 2, 2009 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Luo Xianyong, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China

The contemporary Chinese independent documentary begins in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Those talented documentary film-makers such as Wu Wenguang, Jiang Yue, and Duan jinchuan rejected the narrative style of voice of god, which is the main approach adopted in official and mainstream Chinese documentaries, and preferred a new narrative style named self-reflexive voice they borrowed from the Japanese and American documentary.  In this talk, I will explore the Chinese documentary film-makers’ preference for the cinema verite and interview style as an effort to counterbalance the propagandist, voice of god approach in the official news and documentary programming. However, due to the amateurism and negligence of the theories formed in Euro-American documentaries, the Chinese independent documentary film-makers also face some problems.


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