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DV-Made ChinaDigital Subjects and Social Transformations after Independent Film$
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Zhang Zhen and Angela Zito

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824846817

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824846817.001.0001

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Marking the Body

Marking the Body

The Axiographics of the Visible Hidden Camera

(p.29) Chapter 1 Marking the Body
DV-Made China

Abé Mark Nornes

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter contemplates the ethical dimensions of the specific brand of observational cinema found in China. Because there is no popular understanding of independent documentary—and also because filmmakers almost invariably use amateur video cameras and shoot alone—many subjects are oblivious to the fact that their images are being captured for films being screened around the world. It is in this sense that, while their cameras are perfectly visible, they are also hidden. This enables directors to capture “life unawares,” as if people were being shot by a hidden camera. In this context, directors make the films they want, ignoring the ethical implications of shooting people without being upfront about their intentions or asking for consent. The chapter closely examines a set of films to explore the axiographics of the documentary, in other words how ethics is rendered in the time and space of the moving image.

Keywords:   ethics, style, violence, direct cinema, film festivals

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