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Mainstream Culture RefocusedTelevision Drama, Society, and the Production of Meaning in Reform-Era China$
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Xueping Zhong

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834173

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834173.001.0001

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Looking through the Negatives

Looking through the Negatives

Filmic-Televisual Intertextuality and Ideological Renegotiations

(p.28) Chapter One Looking through the Negatives
Mainstream Culture Refocused

Xueping Zhong

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses three films that use television as a motif. These are Ermo (Ermo, dir. Zhou Xiaowen, 1994), Unknown Pleasures (Ren xiaoyao, dir. Jia Zhangke, 2002), and Still Life (Sanxia haoren, dir. Jia Zhangke, 2006). After discussing the filmic representations and their implications, it considers the extent to which the filmic-televisual intertextuality invites additional analysis and interpretation of the most dominant form of storytelling in contemporary China. Film–television dynamics (and intertextuality between the two) in these films helps bring television into the foreground as an important sociocultural phenomenon and a cultural text for direct analysis and interpretation. The use of television as a motif in these films also represents the extent to which television exists in a rapidly changing physical and social landscape either as an object of desire (to possess), as background noise that nevertheless reveals part of everyday life, or as a source of complex self-identification. These representational characteristics help situate television in the context of social relations in contemporary China, while making visible the complex cultural and ideological implications within this context.

Keywords:   dianshiju, Chinese films, television, social relations, contemporary China, Chinese culture

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