The Urban Generation: Chinese Cinema and Society at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century (Paperback)
  • The Urban Generation: Chinese Cinema and Society at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century (Paperback)
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The Urban Generation: Chinese Cinema and Society at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century (Paperback)

(editor)
£25.99
Paperback 464 Pages / Published: 28/03/2007
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Since the early 1990s, while mainland China's state-owned movie studios have struggled with financial and ideological constraints, an exciting alternative cinema has developed. Dubbed the "Urban Generation," this new cinema is driven by young filmmakers who emerged in the shadow of the events at Tiananmen Square in 1989. What unites diverse directors under the "Urban Generation" rubric is their creative engagement with the wrenching economic and social transformations underway in China. Urban Generation filmmakers are vanguard interpreters of the confusion and anxiety triggered by the massive urbanization of contemporary China. This collection brings together some of the most recent original research on this emerging cinema and its relationship to Chinese society.

The contributors analyze the historical and social conditions that gave rise to the Urban Generation, its aesthetic innovation, and its ambivalent relationship to China's mainstream film industry and the international film market. Focusing attention on the Urban Generation's sense of social urgency, its documentary impulses, and its representations of gender and sexuality, the contributors highlight the characters who populate this new urban cinema-ordinary and marginalized city dwellers including aimless bohemians, petty thieves, prostitutes, postal workers, taxi drivers, migrant workers-and the fact that these "floating urban subjects" are often portrayed by non-professional actors. Some essays concentrate on specific films (such as Shower and Suzhou River) or filmmakers (including Jia Zhangke and Zhang Yuan), while others survey broader concerns. Together the thirteen essays in this collection give a multifaceted account of a significant, ongoing cinematic and cultural phenomenon.

Contributors. Chris Berry, Yomi Braester, Shuqin Cui, Linda Chiu-han Lai, Charles Leary, Sheldon H. Lu, Jason McGrath, Augusta Palmer, Berenice Reynaud, Yaohua Shi, Yingjin Zhang, Zhang Zhen, Xueping Zhong

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822340744
Number of pages: 464
Weight: 649 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 30 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"An essential addition to contemporary Chinese film studies, this provocative collection of essays effectively describes the significant breaks that the most recent generations of filmmakers and media artists in the PRC have made both with the tradition of Chinese filmmaking and with the acclaimed, influential `Fifth Generation' that preceded them."-Richard Pena, Program Director, Film Society of Lincoln Center, and Professor of Film Studies, Columbia University
"Until the early 1990s, China struggled with modernity, with one step back for every step forward. But it produced a brilliant new cinema that attracted world attention, a national cinema skeptical of China's ability to change. Since then, China has boomed, skyrocketed upward on the world scene like its new urban skyscrapers, traded in much of its `Chineseness' for a leading role in an emerging global culture, and produced a new generation of independent, forward-looking `urban cinema.' Including thirteen essays about film and film culture in today's China, this is the first volume to bring the newest Chinese cinema to life. It deserves to be read and then re-read."-Jerome Silbergeld, author of China into Film and Hitchcock with a Chinese Face
"The Urban Generation offers a fascinating account. . . . This anthology of original research is essential to readers who aspire to stay updated with Chinese films and Chinese society. Furthermore, in linking textual analysis conceptually and methodologically to the contextual and the intertextual, it should also be interesting to students of film and cultural studies in general." -- Yiu Fai Chow and Jeroen de Kloet * China Information *
"There is no more stimulating or comprehensive volume on PRC feature filmmaking at the turn of the 21st century." -- Matthew David Johnson * The China Quarterly *
"This book is a remarkable achievement deserving a place on the bookshelves of all serious researchers of Chinese film and indeed world cinema. Any student of modern chinese culture can learn much from this important work. . . . Zhang makes a major contribution to Chinese and world film studies and to our broader understanding of twentieth-century Chinese social and cultural history." -- Paul Clarke * China Review International *
"This is a magnificently presented work providing an extremely comprehensive and accessible overview of contemporary Chinese cinema. The briefly annotated filmography of the key Urban Generation directors (by Charles Leary) is a most helpful inclusion." -- Peter C. Pugsley * Scope *
"Zhang Zhen's collected volume of essays on recent Chinese films is packed with copious information and penetrating observations and will be of benefit to any one of a number of different sorts of reader." -- Christopher Lupke * The China Review *

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