Elitism or Populism? The Problematic of Imagining the Other

  • Xiaoping Wang
Part of the Chinese Literature and Culture in the World book series (CLCW)


Jia Zhangke is the foremost exponent of the practice and ideology of China’s New Wave cinema. This chapter examines three films Jia produced after he entered the mainstream market: The World (2004), 24 City (2008) and A Touch of Sin (2012). These movies give us a clearer understanding of what is cherished by the sixth generation directors even after they have left the “independent” stage, as well as the merits and flaws of this perspective and vision. Is Jia Zhangke’s cinematic vision a sort of elitism of populism? A useful approach to answering this question is to examine the way of dealing with the problematic of the “other” in cinematic works. In Jia’s case, the “other” that appears in his works refers to the “new poor” and other inferior classes—which itself shows that he somewhat stands in an elite (if not always an elitist) position.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaoping Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Chinese Language and CultureHuaqiao University, Xiamen CampusXiamenChina

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