Jia Zhangke's Shijie and China's changing global space

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Estrada, Mariana, 1981-

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This paper explores tourism and space-making in modern China through the lens of Sixth Generation Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke. His film Shijie (The World) features people whose lives play out in and around a Chinese theme park of the same name. Through its portrayal of theme parks and the social stratum who visit and inhabit them, Shijie depicts both the filmmaker’s opinion of China’s modernization project, as well as his evolving status within the Chinese international/national film system. As China’s interest in its global image is being transformed through its media products, its concept of global and local space is also changing. The Olympic Village created for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics can be seen as an attempt at physically and symbolically engineering China’s new global space. This paper will consider Jia Zhangke, The World, and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games as several points along a continuum that leads toward a new envisioning of global space in China.




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