Commerce and the critical edge : negotiating the politics of postsocialist film, the case of Feng Xiaogang

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)


This article investigates Feng Xiaogang's (b.1958) film-making in the new millennium. Drawing upon his three films, Yi sheng tanxi/A Sigh (2000), Shouji/Cell Phone (2003), and Tianxia wu zei/A World without Thieves (2004), I examine how the uneven postsocialist situation in China fundamentally shapes his film-making and how his films are broadly symptomatic of the current condition and politics of Chinese cinema. I argue that, in the postsocialist condition, Feng's cultural intervention is strategically embedded within its apparently commercial form. My investigation begins with an analysis of the social space in postsocialist China as represented in his films. It then deals with the major focus of his films common people's everyday lives, and it ends with an examination of the most intriguing aspect of his films and the most powerful weapon of his cultural intervention: his humour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-214
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Chinese Cinemas
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


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