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Intermediality, aesthetics and politics in the cinema of Jia Zhang-ke


The Research Grant 'Jovens Pesquisadores em Centros Emergentes' will enable the development and application of an original model of cinematic intermediality. In a first instance, the hypotheses will be applied to the work of Chinese director Jia Zhang-ke, and through the course of the research could be tested in relation to the work of other world cinema directors. Jia is considered the greatest representative of the "sixth generation" of Chinese cinema, also known as the "urban generation" for its focus on the everyday life and the cityscapes of contemporary China. As I will suggest, his work springs from the articulation of an original aesthetics, which responds to a new historical and social conjuncture. This original aesthetics is born out of the problem of intermediality, allied to an authorial and a realist impulse. On one hand, a bazinian belief in cinema's natural inclination towards realism transforms Jia's camera in a source of power. On the other hand, his cinema's articulation of reality shares aesthetic resources with other Chinese artistic traditions, such as painting and architecture. This research will investigate how the terms "intermediality" - which points to cinema's interbreeding with other arts - and "realism" and "authorship" - normally associated with its specificity - are intertwined in Jia Zhang-ke's cinema. This combination, which creates its own rules, aligns it with an aesthetic regime of the arts, in Jacques Rancière's terms, and derives its force from the creation of a dissensus, which unites the realist and authorial impulses within this crisis-intermediality in a political impulse, fruit of the interaction between History and Poetry. (AU)

Articles published in Pesquisa FAPESP Magazine about the research grant:
China’s eyes and ears 
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