Posts Tagged ‘new documentary movement’

Chinese Independent Documentaries at Light Industry (NYC)

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Crude Oil (Photo courtesy of Light Industry)

Triple Canopy and Light Industry present the East Coast premiere of Wang Bing’s Crude Oil, a fourteen-hour film installation tracking a fourteen-hour workday of crude-oil extraction in northwest China, from Wednesday, November 4 to Sunday, November 8. The film will be viewed from 9am until 11pm each day, running five times in its entirety.

Accompanying Crude Oil in an adjacent room will be a film program by Matthew Coolidge of the Center for Land Use Interpretation and Lucy Raven (7:30pm, Wednesday, November 4) as well as screenings of Wang Bing’s Coal Money (4pm, Saturday, November 7) and West of the Tracks (12pm, Sunday, November 8). A curated DVD library of related films will be available for viewing throughout the week.

The central theme of the program, as stated in a note from Triple Canopy, is “work, workers, workplaces, and the landscapes of labor,” which provide a dwelling place for art in today’s world of “sheer speed, placelessness, and impersonality of global finance.”

The screenings will be held at Industrial City, 220 36th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue), 5th Floor, Brooklyn, New York. More details can be found here. Descriptions of Wang Bing’s films follow.


Chris Berry on Ghost Town

Friday, September 25th, 2009

I received the following message from Chris Berry, who had recently watched the film Ghost Town by Zhao Dayong, which will have its international premiere at the 2009 New York Film Festival. In these remarks, he places the film within the context of the Chinese independent documentary movement. (For more information, see CinemaTalk interviews with Chris Berry and China documentary scholar Lu Xinyu.)

I finished watching Ghost Town last night. It’s a very fine film indeed. One of the reviews mentioned Jia Zhangke. But I immediately thought of Wang Bing. The three-part structure, the epic historical theme with larger social implications, the patient observational filmmaking, the people speaking to camera but the filmmaker’s own absence, all these things made me think of Wang Bing. And like his films, it has a strong sense of historical consciousness, an eye for unique material, and a real sympathy for the people in the film and their tough lives. It’s a testament to the continuing strength of the Chinese documentary movement.


CinemaTalk: A Conversation with Lu Xinyu

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

dGenerate Films presents CinemaTalk, an ongoing series of conversations with esteemed scholars of Chinese cinema studies. These conversations are presented on this site in audio podcast and/or text format. They are intended to help the Chinese cinema studies community keep abreast of the latest work being done in the field, as well as to learn what recent Chinese films are catching the attention of others. This series reflects our mission to bring valuable resources and foster community around the field of Chinese film studies.


Lu Xinyu (photo courtesy of UCLA International Institute)

Lu Xinyu is Professor and Director of the Radio and TV Department, School of Journalism, Fudan University, Shanghai, China. Professor Lu is widely regarded as the leading scholar on independent Chinese documentaries. Her influential book Documenting China: The New Documentary Movement (Beijing, SDX Joint Publishing Company, 2003) was the first book to systematically theorize the New Documentary Movement in China from the beginning of 1990s. She spent the past academic year as a visiting scholar in the department of cinema studies at New York University.

Selected Publications by Lu Xinyu:


  • Writing and What It Obscures (Guangxi Normal University Press, 2008)
  • Documenting China: The Contemporary Documentary Movement in China (SDX Joint Publishing Company, Beijing, 2003)
  • Mythology. Tragedy. Aristotle’s Art of Poetry: New Concept to Ancient Greek’s Poetics Tradition (Fudan University Press, Shanghai, 1995)

Papers and Articles:

  • “The Power and Pain of Chinese New Documentary Movement”, Dushu No. 5, 2006.
  • “Ruins of the Future Class and History in Wang Bing’s Tiexi District”, New Left Review, 31 Jan/Fab 2005. London.
  • “Tiexi District: History and Class Consciousness”, Dushu No. 1, 2004.
  • “The History of Documentary and the Document of the History”, Journalism Quarterly, Winter, 2003.
  • “A Memorandum about Contemporary Chinese Documentary Development”, South China Television Journal No. 6, 2002 and No. 1, 2003.
  • “Began from the Other Side: New Documentary Movement in China”, Frontiers No. 3, 2002.

In this interview conducted by dGenerate’s Yuqian Yan, Lu Xinyu told us about her current work during her visit in New York and how she was attracted to independent Chinese documentary from an aesthetic and humanist background. Starting from Aristotle’s poetic concept of “tragedy”, she led us to understand the New Documentary Movement as a unique art form that depicts the tragic life of ordinary people in the rapidly changing Chinese society. The interview was conducted in Chinese. Full English transcript after the break.

Play the Podcast (in Mandarin Chinese) (Time: 16:43)

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Download it here (right-click to download). (File Size:7.7 MB)