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Title: One step forward into reality : transvergent reconfigurations of the Jishizhuyi style in contemporary Chinese cinema
Author: Bertozzi, Eddie
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 7122
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2014
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This dissertation examines the stylistic evolution of one specific brand of film realism in contemporary Chinese cinema: the so-called jishizhuyi style ('on-the-spot' realism). In particular, the project focuses on the process of progressive aestheticisation that has affected this style since the turn of the twenty-first century, and the resulting development of a number of transgressive aesthetic features. In the first place, this study rethinks the assumptions of objectivity and spontaneity that conventionally characterise the practice and understanding of jishizhuyi. Hence, through the analysis of relevant case studies, the dissertation discusses the evolution of two main tendencies that show an increasingly subjective approach to the jishizhuyi style: the adoption of hyperrealist and supernatural visual elements - in films such as Suzhou River, Shanghai Panic, Welcome to Destination Shanghai, The World, and Still Life - and the purposeful interplay of fiction and non-fiction - in works such as Disorder, Oxhide, Oxhide II, 24 City, and The Ditch. The dissertation contends that, albeit challenging to conventional understandings of realism, these aesthetics do not invalidate, but rather redefine the meaning and practice of film realism in relation to the specificities of China's contemporary historical framework. To investigate this topic, the project applies the 'cinema of transvergence' paradigm to Chinese film studies for the first time. This is understood as a transformative theoretical model that accounts for the evolution of film styles in a flexible manner. The discussion further combines a variety of interdisciplinary theories, ranging from magical realism to documentary performativity, in order to fulfil a formal and critical analysis of a stylistic phenomenon that has hitherto lacked a comprehensive systematisation in academic scholarship.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral