JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

 

 

Notes

1. Ecologists warn that the dam will cause massive erosion, endanger local plant and animal species, and has the potential of being extremely disastrous due to the fact that the reservoir runs over two active fault lines. See Mara Hvistendahl’s article in Scientific American titled “China's Three Gorges Dam: An Environmental Catastrophe?” which gives a general overview of some of the debates within the scientific community internationally and in Mainland China. [return to page 1]

2. Xiao Shan Going Home along with Pickpocket and Platform, take place in Fenyang—Jia’s hometown. All three of these films also use the actor Wang Hongwei for the main character. Xiaoping Lin in his article “Jia Zhangke’s Cinematic Trilogy: A Journey Across the Ruins of Post-Mao China” reads Xiao Shan Going Home as part of the trilogy, whereas later secondary sources see Pickpocket, Platform, and Unknown Pleasures as a trilogy of his independent film career.

3. Jia Zhangke will admit later on that although he was not immediately conscious of it at the time, he realized later that the work was heavily influenced by two films that he had immensely enjoyed: Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket (1959) and Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (1948)  (Berry 40).

4. The significance of chai as signifier of demolition as it pertains to the film Still Life will be further discussed in this article in regards to the notion of home vs. homelessness.

5. For example, Jia is impressed that this technology has been adopted by established directors of the French New Wave such as Agnès Varda and Eric Rohmer whose respective films The Gleaners and I (2000) and The Lady and the Duke (2001) were projected in China via the French embassy (“Le Cinéma Français en Chine” 99).

6. For an interesting look at how mobile phones add intertextual layers to Jia Zhangke’s films, see Michael Fitzhenry’s article “China Art by Phone: Mobile Movies.” [return to page 2]

7. An entire study could be done just documenting the various songs (popular Chinese, popular Western, state-sponsored, operatic, etc.) in Jia’s film. Michael Berry’s book Jia Zhangke's 'Hometown Trilogy' : Xiao Wu, Platform, Unknown Pleasures does an excellent job of documenting all influences, not just musical, that operate in Jia’s works. Similarly Kin-Yan Szeto’s article “A Moist Heart: Love, Politics and China’s Neoliberal Transition in the Films of Jia Zhangke” as well as Tonglin Lu’s “Music and Noise: Independent Film and Globalization” explicates much of the theoretical importance of prominent popular songs in his films.

8. Jia Zhangke’s next film 24 City will further play with this dichotomy. The film documents the destruction of a Mao era airplane factory to make way for a high-rise. The film documents the individual stories of those involved with the factory, but half of the interviewees are real workers and the other half are actors. [return to page 3] 

9. The title of the film Dong means “East” and is also in Liu Xiaodong’s name.

10. As McGrath points out, the boundary between truth and fiction are even blurred once again when it is taken into account that Han Sanming is also Jia Zhangke’s cousin named Han Sanming. He is a non-professional actor that has appeared in several of Jia’s works. In real life he worked as a coalminer in Shanxi province (“The Cinema of Displacement” 45).

Works cited

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Benjamin, Walter. “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” Illuminations. Trans. Hary Zohn. New York: Schocken Books, 1969. 

Berry, Michael. Speaking in Images: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers. New York: Columbia UP, 2005.

---. Jia Zhangke's 'Hometown trilogy': Xiao Wu, Platform, Unknown pleasures. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Bíró, Yvette. “Tender Is the Regard: I Don't Want to Sleep Alone and Still Life." Film Quarterly. 61.4 (2008): 34-40.

Chow, Rey. “A Souvenir of Love.” At Full Speed: Hong Kong Cinema in a Borderless World. Ed. Esther C. M. Yau. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2001.

Fitzhenry, Michael. “China Art by Phone: Mobile Movies.” Visual Anthropology. 21.3 (2008): 202-216.

Fitzhenry, Michael and Zhang, Xuelian. “Internal Screening: The New Independent Cinema between Hollywood and China.” Film International. 5.1 (2007): 45-57.

Hvistendahl, Mara. “China’s Three Gorges Dam: An environmental catastrophe?” Scientific American 25 March 25 2008. Web. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id
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Jia, Zhangke. “Le Cinéma français en Chine.” Trans. Liu Jie. Cahiers du Cinéma. 568 (2002): 98-99.

---. dir. Dong. 2006.

---. dir. Pickpoket. [Xiao Wu]. 1997.

---. dir. Platform. [Zhantai]. 2000.

---. dir. Still Life. [Sanxia Haoren]. 2006.

---. “Les Trois Révolutions du Numérique.” Trans. Amaury and Prune Mentque. Cahiers du Cinéma 586 (2004): 20-24.

---. dir. Unknown Pleasures. [Ren Xiao Yao]. 2002.

---. dir. The World. [Shijie]. 2004.

Kraicer, Shelly. “An Interview with Jia Zhangke.” CineAction. 60 (2003): 30-33. 

Liu, Jin. “The Rhetoric of Local Languages as the Marginal: Chinese Underground and Independent Films by Jia Zhangke and Others.” Modern Chinese Literature and Culture. 18.2 (2006): 163-205.

Lin, Xiaoping. “Jia Zhangke’s Cinematic Trilogy: A Journey Across the Ruins of Post-Mao China.” Chinese-Language Film: Historiography, Poetics, Politics. Eds. Sheldon Lu and Emilie Yueh-Yu Yeh. Honolulu: U of Hawai’i P, 2005.

Lu, Sheldon. Chinese Modernity and Global Biopolitics: Studies in Literature and Visual Culture. Honolulu: U of Hawai’i P, 2007.

---. “Gorgeous Three Gorges at Last Sight: Cinematic Remembrance and the Dialectic of Modernization.” Chinese Ecocinema: In the Age of Environmental Change. Hong Kong UP: Hong Kong, 2009.

---. “Introduction: Cinema, Ecology, Modernity.” Chinese Ecocinema: In the Age of Environmental Change. Hong Kong UP: Hong Kong, 2009.

Lu, Tonglin. “Fantasy and reality of a virtual China in Jia Zhangke's film The World.” Journal of Chinese Cinemas. 2.3 (2008): 163-179.

McGrath, Jason. “The Cinema of Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam in Feature Film and Video.” Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art. Chicago: Smart Museum of Art, 2008. 

---. “The Independent Cinema of Jia Zhangke.” The Urban Generation: Chinese Cinema and Society at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Zhen Zhang. Durham: Duke UP, 2007. 

Rapfogel, Jared. “Still Lives in Times of Change: An Interview with Jia Zhangke.” Cineaste. 33.2 (2008): 44-47.

Szeto, Kin-Yan. “A Moist Heart: Love, Politics and China's Neoliberal Transition in the Films of Jia Zhangke.” Visual Anthropology. 22.2 (2009): 95-107.

Shih, Shu-mei. Visuality and Identity: Sinophone Articulations Across the Pacific. Berkley: U of California P, 2007.

Teo. Stephen. “Cinema with an Accent: Interview with Jia Zhangke, Director of Platform.” Senses of Cinema: An Online Film Journal Devoted to the Serious and Eclectic Discussion of Cinema. 15 (2001). n. pag. Web. 6 April 2009.
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Wang, Ban. “Epic Narrative, Authenticity, and the Memory of Realism.” Re-envisioning the Chinese Revolution: the Politics and Poetics of Collective Memories in Reform China. Ed. Ching Kwan Lee and Guobin Yang. Stanford: Stanford UP, 2007.

Wu, Hung. “Internalizing Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art.” Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art. Chicago: Smart Museum of Art, 2008. 

Zhang, Hongbing. “Ruins and Grassroots: Jia Zhangke’s Cinematic Discontents in the Age of Globalization.” Chinese Ecocinema: In the Age of Environmental Change. Hong Kong UP: Hong Kong, 2009.


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