Desiring Feminism in Chinese Documentary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Downloads (Pure)


This article analyses a series of ‘Desiring China: Sexuality and Female Subjectivity’ screening and discussion of Chinese independent documentary films at the University of Hong Kong in 2016. It explores a feminist positionality in Chinese independent documentary film to deal with privacy, gender, violence, and trauma: 1) filmmaker’s position on the ethics of care and (intimate) solidarity with protagonists, 2) protagonist’s position of confession and appeal in reclaiming autonomy from gender based violence and discrimination; 3) filmmaker’s and protagonist’s different positions on reducing documentary’s negative impact on protagonist’s personal life through controlling distribution, 4) evolving positions of protagonist and filmmaker on self-transformation and the re- open for screening, 5) activist position of representation as in politics and filmmaking’s position of representation as in arts, and 6) tensions between theory and practice requires scholars, filmmakers, and activists to situate and contextualise ethics for discussion and practice.

This article argues for the need to adopt a feminist ethics of care when producing, exhibiting, and critiquing documentaries about women and social margins in contemporary China. It promotes equal power relationship among documentary participants and innovation of cinematic language, to deal with ethical dilemmas and potential limitations of filmmaking and exhibiting Chinese independent documentary films.
Translated title of the contribution中国独立纪录片的女权欲望 (Chinese title)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-178
Number of pages37
JournalChinese Independent Cinema Observer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022 May 10

Bibliographical note

Bilingual article in English and Chinese

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Studies on Film


  • China
  • Desire
  • Documentary
  • Feminism
  • Positionality


Dive into the research topics of 'Desiring Feminism in Chinese Documentary'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this