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China in the MixCinema, Sound, and Popular Culture in the Age of Globalization$
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Ying Xiao

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781496812605

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496812605.001.0001

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“Rock ’n’ Roll on the New Long March”: Cui Jian and the Voices and Moving Images of Chinese Rock Kids

“Rock ’n’ Roll on the New Long March”: Cui Jian and the Voices and Moving Images of Chinese Rock Kids

(p.75) Chapter Three “Rock ’n’ Roll on the New Long March”: Cui Jian and the Voices and Moving Images of Chinese Rock Kids
China in the Mix

Ying Xiao

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter observes the conflation of Chinese rock ‘n’ roll music and film at the end of the twentieth century. The chapter begins by probing the genesis of this cinematic-musical alliance on the cusp of the late 1980s and early 1990s as demonstrated in “Wang Shuo Hooligan Literature” and its film adaptions such as Mi Jiashan’s The Troubleshooters (1988). It, then, turn to a navigation of Cui Jian, the Godfather of Chinese Rock, tracing his voices, images, personas, and iconographies in Chinese films. Close readings of the films such as Beijing Bastards (1992), Good Morning, Beijing (1990), Roots and Branches (2001), and The Sun Also Rises (2007) suggest that the emergence and evolution of Chinese rock ‘n’ roll film shall be seen as a result of widespread and multifaceted transformations in postsocialist China. At the core of this rock imaginary is the aesthetic of cinema vérité and postsocialist realism. The paradigmatic portrayals of rock kids, social outcasts, urban drifters, and postsocialist flâneur therefore herald a new wave of what Naficy has called an “accented” cinema and independent, transnational film practice, whose trajectory parallels the rise of youth culture and popular music in contemporary China.

Keywords:   Cui Jian, rock ‘n’ roll, cinema vérité, flâneur, postsocialist realism

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