Chinese Rock ‘n’ Roll Film and Cui Jian on Screen

Ying Xiao

in The Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics

Published in print September 2013 | ISBN: 9780199733866
Published online December 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Chinese Rock ‘n’ Roll Film and Cui Jian on Screen

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This article appears in the Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics edited by John Richardson, Claudia Gorbman, and Carol Vernallis. During the 1980s and 1990s, China experienced an explosion of films for youth, imbued with the aesthetic and ethic of rock ‘n’ roll. This chapter examines a variety of films, from the countercultural to the more mainstream, focusing on the voice, image, persona, and iconography of Cui Jian, and offering an audiovisual perspective on urban youth cinema and Chinese rock. The emergence and development of Chinese rock ‘n’ roll film from the late 1980s to the twenty-first century resulted from widespread, multifaceted transformations in postsocialist China. At the core of this rock imaginary is the aesthetic of cinema vérité and postsocialist realism. In sync with the kaleidoscopic manifestation of the cityscape and long tracking shots of protagonists roaming the metropolis, rock music and the hand-held mobile camera seek to document a reality of postmodern life and capture a feeling of postsocialist anxiety-a concern for realism articulated through dialogue and ambient sound.

Keywords: Chinese rock ‘n’ roll; Cui Jian; urban youth cinema; cinema vérité; postsocialist realism

Article.  7617 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Music and Media

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