In this milestone work, prominent China film scholar Yingjin Zhang proposes 'polylocality' as a new conceptual framework for investigating the shifting spaces of contemporary Chinese cinema in the age of globalization. Questioning the national cinema paradigm, Zhang calls for comparative studies of underdeveloped areas beyond the imperative of transnationalism. The book begins by addressing theories and practices related to space, place, and polylocality in contemporary China before focusing on the space of scholarship and urging scholars to move beyond the current paradigm and explore transnational and comparative film studies. This is followed by a chapter that concentrates on the space of production and surveys the changing landscape of postsocialist filmmaking and the transformation of China's urban generation of directors. Next is an examination of the space of polylocality and the cinematic mappings of Beijing and a persistent 'reel' contact with polylocality in hinterland China. In the fifth chapter Zhang explores the space of subjectivity in independent film and video and contextualizes experiments by young directors with various documentary styles. Chapter 6 calls attention to the space of performance and addresses issues of media and mediation by way of two kinds of playing: the first with documentary as troubling information, the second with piracy as creative intervention. The concluding chapter offers an overview of Chinese cinema in the new century and provides production and reception statistics.
Yingjin Zhang is director of the Chinese Studies Program and professor of Chinese comparative literature and cultural studies at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of seven academic books in English.