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Title: Docu-realism in contemporary Chinese film
Author: Dolby, F. J.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2008
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This dissertation concerns a group of young Chinese filmmakers, some of whom are referred to as the “Sixth Generation”, who have made films outside the state-run filmmaking system since the 1990s. Their strikingly innovative works have increasingly attracted attention both inside and outside China. In fact, this film practice, arising from new film aesthetics, has formed a new film genre: docu-realism, a term I coin to refer to the new genre in contemporary Chinese fiction film. This is a type of fiction film that for the most part employs documentary mechanisms and adopts documentary aesthetics.  The main task of this dissertation is to define “docu-realism” as a new film genre. This dissertation consists of five chapters and a conclusion. Chapter one, the introduction to the dissertation, sets up the theoretical foundation and critical strategies for the definition of docu-realism. Chapter Two, which is the core of the whole dissertation, accomplishes the most essential task of the thesis – unfolding the definition of docu-realism. Firstly, docu-realism is the product of the social-economic-cultural reality in China since the 1990s, and in some senses this makes it a counterpart to Italian neo-realism. Secondly, the philosophical foundation of docu-realism is to emphasize and value the redemption of physical reality, in ways consistent with the theories of Bazin and Kracauer. Thirdly, nostalgia, featuring a popular perspective and a narrative with documentary style form, is the fundamental characteristic of docu-realism. I further exemplify my definition of docu-realism with a range of films examined from various perspectives in the following three chapters, which are focused respectively on Zhang Yuan, Jia Zhangke and a group of filmmakers including Wang Xiaoshuai, Lu Xuechang, Wang Chao and Zhang Ming. The conclusion argues that docu-realism is a significant step in the Sinification of realism in Chinese film.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available