Senior Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)


Online and Continuing Education

Faculty Advisor(s)

David Fiordalis

Subject Categories

Asian Studies | Chinese Studies | International and Area Studies


When considering the Chinese domestic film industry, debates often arise regarding government involvement and the degree to which this interferes with filmmakers’ creative freedom. A common assertion raises concerns of censorship and propaganda with the proposal that state control continues to be overbearing and manipulative, but others challenge this view and maintain that the film industry is closer to a free market now that government intervention has been scaled back. This dissension naturally raises the question: how do Chinese government policies towards their domestic film industry impact filmmakers’ creative freedom? This tension is examined with the claim that Chinese government policies towards their domestic film industry constrain narratives in exchange for enabling greater scope. The claim is explored under the lens of Chinese domestic filmmaker Jia Zhangke, who was once a banned director that illegally produced films outside of the government system but was later welcomed into the fold and now produces films officially within the system. Particular focus is given to the underground film Platform and the aboveground film The World to investigate what effects government policy has had on the production of these domestic films.


For the Global Studies program.



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