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Moving FiguresClass and Feeling in the Films of Jia Zhangke$
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Corey Kai Nelson Schultz

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474421614

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474421614.001.0001

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The Intellectual: Power and the Voice

The Intellectual: Power and the Voice

(p.109) Chapter 4 The Intellectual: Power and the Voice
Moving Figures

Corey Kai Nelson Schultz

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter 4 analyzes the intellectual, as primarily found in the documentaries Useless and Dong. It examines this humanitarian figure and the structures of feeling that are associated with it, which include patriotism, altruism, and a sense of mission, and the desire to save the nation and its people. This chapter is based around the voice – the power of the voice, the class that has it, and its effects. It also examines the “voice” of the camera, which is interpreted as the voice of another intellectual, that of Jia Zhangke, and how it switches from a passive “observatory lens” to an engaged “exploratory lens” when it breaks its orbit around these figures to examine other people and environments. It argues that, in the Reform era, the intellectuals have resumed their traditional role and moral obligation of speaking for the masses and serving society, arguing that this in effect “Others” them, and therefore emphasizes the intellectual’s power in the Reform era in that, although they speak for the masses, they do not share their problems.

Keywords:   Intellectual, Voice, Othering, Observatory lens, Exploratory lens, Documentary cinematography

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