The Production of Art Cinema Culture in China: An Exploration of the Role of Cultural Intermediaries

Fan, Xiang. 2021. The Production of Art Cinema Culture in China: An Exploration of the Role of Cultural Intermediaries. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis offers an ethnographic account of how art cinema culture is produced in China since the turn of twenty-first century. With an underdeveloped art cinema infrastructure and the endurance of forceful Party-state control over public cinematic spaces, there have emerged numerous individuals and organisations taking part in circulating the information and appreciation of the art of film through a number of different alternative paths and networks. This thesis scrutinises the role of the intermediary practitioners – particularly those involved in independent exhibition, internet criticism and underground distribution – and how they think about cinema, negotiate judgement and appreciation, and construct a discourse of value and taste. It is argued that, although their motivation was derived from a cinephilia seeking to forge an alternative mode of distribution and reception, the ‘new’ cinema culture they have produced simultaneously negotiates a subtly complicit relationship with authoritative and market forces. Their cultural practices and engagement oscillates between the status of independence and autonomy, a rejection of cultural homogeneity and monopolisation, and culture as promotion that accrues a public image and recognition. Moreover, involved in diversified practices and taste formation, the intermediary practitioners have also sought to produce a new form of legitimacy in reference to cultural value and judgement. To attain their legitimacy, they have sought to constitute a coordinated and interrelated network in the site of art cinema. The network is manifested – its mode of operation explicitly – as part of the art film culture in a way that represents the larger spectrum of socio-cultural hierarchy in contemporary Chinese culture and society.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Art Cinema; Chinese Cinema; Chinese Art Cinema; Chinese independent Cinema; Cultural Intermediaries; Cinephilia

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


28 February 2021

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

12 Jul 2021 13:47

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:19


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