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The Chinese Independent Cinema In the Post Tiananmen Era

Zhong Chen

Release year: 2005

Run time: 85 mins

Film type: Documentary


The rise of independent cinema in China occurred after the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident. Filmmakers such as Zhang Yuan, Wu Wenguang, Wang Xiaoshuai, Jia Zhangke, and others emerged as representatives of this movement. Over the course of more than a decade, from the 1990s to the early 21st century, they created a large number of outstanding domestic underground films that had a profound impact on the international film industry. However, in China, these films faced restrictions and were unable to be screened in theaters due to a lack of official approval. This documentary conducts interviews with these representative film directors of that era. Through the lens, these directors express their personal journeys in engaging in the art of filmmaking within a forbidden environment.


Director biography

Xinzhong Chen, also known as Zhong Chen in English, was born in Chengdu, Sichuan, China in the 1970s. He graduated from the Department of Engineering Mechanics at Tsinghua University in China, earning a Bachelor's degree in Engineering. In the 1990s, fueled by his passion for photography and videography, he made a career change and joined Chengdu TV station. In 1998, he was awarded a full assistantship from Temple University's film department in the United States, which enabled him to pursue comprehensive film education. In 2003, he earned an MFA degree in film production. Zhong Chen's works have been selected for more than 100 international film festivals and have garnered numerous awards. He has been invited to deliver lectures at various esteemed universities in the United States, including Northwestern University, Stanford University, University of Paris VII in France, Lund University in Sweden, and several universities in China. Furthermore, he has served as a guiding lecturer at the Odense International Short Film Festival's master class in Denmark. Currently, he resides in Chengdu, China, and works as a freelancer.