Jingya LIU

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (MPHIL)


Cultural Studies


This thesis aims to re-categorize Chinese independent films from a region-based perspective as a critical response to existing literature on Chinese independent films. This thesis analyzes three independent films made in three different regions of China in order to investigate regional Chinese independent cinema as a recently rising phenomenon: respectively, Jia Zhangke’s Xiaowu (1997) made in Shanxi Province, Ying Liang’s Taking Father Home (Bei yazi de nanhai, 2006) in Sichuan Province, and Robin Weng’s Fujian Blue (Jinbi huihuang, 2007) in Fujian Province.

By using Bakhtin’s concept of chronotope (literally time-space) as the fundamental framework and exploring the many aspects of it, I will develop three major theoretical points to study selected regional Chinese independent films: first, chronotope enables the evaluation of texts of Chinese independent films; second, the documentary impulses prevailing Chinese independent films serve as the chronotopic linkage between the world in the film text and the world the film text represents; three, the mediation function as one aspect of chronotope is characterized by the negotiation between regional Chinese independent films and many social relations, for example, filmmakers, casting, audiences.

This thesis also explores many issues related to Chinese independent films, for example: How do we value the unique film practice of Chinese independent filmmakers instead of viewing them as a unified whole? How do we relate Chinese independent films as aesthetic practices to the region-specific reality they are embedded in? How can Chinese independent cinema as a social practice play an effective role in society? The exploration of these questions does not only enlighten new research perspectives on Chinese independent films, but also provide reflections on the geographical, cultural and social diversity of Chinese regions.



Recommended Citation

Liu, J. (2010). Chronotope and regional Chinese independent films (Master's thesis, Lingnan University, Hong Kong). Retrieved from