Eyes of the Other: The Role of Chinese Women through the Lens of Documentary Films

  • Cecilia J. Pang


The American filmmaker Micha X. Peled (2007) shares the following comment in an interview: ‘we tend to find China very mysterious and difficult to understand because their culture is so different from ours but they’re becoming a major world power and for that reason I think we should all try to understand them better’. Documentary film has always been a favourite visual medium for foreign filmmakers to explore the inscrutable China, but despite their impassioned objective voices, highly subjective modes and an insatiable curiosity, their work is mostly comprised of ‘cliché images’ and ‘cliché topics’ (Yuen 2005), and ‘show little of the experience of individual Chinese or the filmmakers’ own responses to China’ (Fitzpatrick 1983).


Chinese Woman Cultural Revolution Factory Owner Documentary Film Film Festival 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Dargis, M. (2006) ‘Review of Yang Ban Xi (Netherlands)’, New York Times, 29 March.Google Scholar
  2. Fitzpatrick, M. (1983) ‘China Images Abroad: The Representation of China in Western Documentary Films’, Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs, 9, 87–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Gaetano, A.M. and Jacka, T. (2004) On the Move: Women and Rural-to-Urban Migration in Contemporary China. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Grierson, J. (1966) Grierson on Documentary. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  5. Harvey, D. (2005) ‘Review of China Blue’, Variety, 13 October.Google Scholar
  6. Larsen, E. (1998) ‘Video vérité from Beijing’, Art in America, 86 (September), 53–6.Google Scholar
  7. Li, H. (1997) ‘Asian Currents: Out of Phoenix Bridge’, Catalogue of Yamagata International Film Festival. Available at:, date accessed 1 November 2010.
  8. Lorenz, A. (2007) ‘The Chinese Cultural Revolution: Remembering Mao’s Victims’, Spiegel Online International, 15 April. Available at:,1518,483023,00.html, date accessed 1 November 2010.
  9. Min, A. (1994) Red Azalea. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  10. Peled, M.X. (2007) Interview by Sara Schieron. Alterati, 3 April. Available at:, date accessed 1 November 2010.
  11. Pickowicz, P.G. and Zhang, Y. (eds) (2006) From Underground to Independent: Alternative Film Culture in Contemporary China. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  12. Reynaud, B. (2003) ‘Dancing with Myself, Drifting with My Camera: The Emotional Vagabonds of China’s New Documentary’, Senses of Cinema, 28 (September). Available at:, date accessed 1 November 2010.
  13. Rui, S. (2005) ‘To Remember History: Hu Jie Talks about His Documentaries’, Senses of Cinema, 35 (April–June). Available at:, date accessed 1 November 2010.
  14. Yuen, Y.-T. (2005) ‘Statement by the Director’, in Press Kit of Yang Ban Xi. Available at: pdf, date accessed 1 November 2010.
  15. Yuen, Y.-T. (2006) ‘Q&A Session with Filmmaker Yan-Ting Yuen of Yang Ban Xi: The 8 Model Works’ Film Forum Podcasts (29 March). Available at:, date accessed 1 November 2010.
  16. Zhang, Y. (2004) ‘Styles, Subjects, and Special Points of View: A Study of Contemporary Independent Documentary’, New Cinemas, 2(3), 119–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Zhang, Y. (2007) ‘Comparative Film Studies, Transnational Film Studies: Interdisciplinarity, Crossmediality, and Transcultural Visuality in Chinese Cinema’, Journal of Chinese Cinemas, 1(1), 27–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Cecilia J. Pang 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cecilia J. Pang

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations