Drawing upon rich detailed data collected through ethnography in the capital city of Beijing, China, this article examines the social locations and media used for watching Chinese independent films. Three key research questions frame the article. (1) Who are the audiences of Chinese independent films? (2) Under what circumstances do they watch the films? (3) What are the broader social consequences of watching independent films in China? Empirically, I focus on two particular locations of consumption - film clubs and independently organized film festivals, and two media of viewing - DVDs and the Internet. Analytically, I argue that consumption enables the production of Chinese independent films in two ways. First, literally, by providing knowledge, resources and personal networks for independent film production. Second, metaphorically, by making Chinese independent films become social reality by providing opportunities for circulation and exhibition of the officially illegal cultural product. I conclude the article by reflecting upon the utility of the emerging concept of prosumption for analysing film consumption in China.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts