By Isabella Tianzi Cai
An article of great interest was recently posted in the Chicago Sun Times-based blog, Etheriel Musings: A Journey in China, by Canadian-based blogger Grace Wang, who is a “Far Flung Correspondent” for Roger Ebert. In her lengthy article “Chinese Documentaries: An Inside Look,” Wang emphasizes the importance of Chinese documentaries in the world at large today: “they reflect, from the closest distance possible, in the most direct way possible, the rapid social, political, and cultural changes happening in China right now.”
What Wang believes Chinese documentaries can achieve is fascinating. She argues that Chinese documentary cinema outperforms conventional journalism in bringing “a deep and thorough look” into China because it is unconstrained by “the time-sensitive nature of the journalists’ occupation” and “the bureaucratic red-tape” within the Chinese press. Though it is not specifically noted, we shall understand that here she refers to independent documentaries made largely outside of the state-censored film and media industry.