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date: 06 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Most scholarship on Mainland Chinese independent documentary champions its defiant, subversive intent and its consistent claim to truth. In light of theories of spatiality and polylocality, especially the tactic of thirding, this chapter argues that Mainland Chinese independent documentary has accomplished a great deal more: documenting the fast-changing landscape of a globalizing China, intervening in cases of social justice, retrieving lost memories of individuals and groups, contemplating the self in crisis, cultivating genuinely subaltern images, and constructing professional networks across social and geographic borders. The chapter draws attention to the translocal operations of independent documentary and its various tactics and techniques, from observational and interactive to performative and experimental. Rather than following a binary logic of repression versus subversion, Mainland Chinese independent documentary often explores a third way of bypassing conventions and norms and creating new spaces for articulating visions of truth, memory, and subjectivity.

Keywords: independent documentary, spatiality, polylocality, thirding, place, flow, globalizing China

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