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Unformatted text preview: Jason Lau Complex Synthesis of Author Sources 3/19/12 Photographs have always had an interesting role in the world in the sense that they can be manipulated and utilized to reach various goals. Susan Sontag in her book On Photography discusses the role of images in societies, such as sot China. The Peoples Republic of China was established in 1949 under the leadership of Chairman Mao Zedong. From that year began a series of radical movements that sought to accelerate the development of the new Chinese nation. One of these movements included the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, in which Mao Zedong led a reform that attacked old and feudal thinking, culture, and tradition. According to Simon Leys, a Westerner visiting China, Chinese literature, art, and even photography suffered greatly from this movement, as the government implemented new standards over what was considered as acceptable content. In 1972, Mao Zedong invited filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni to film and document China. However, the resulting documentary was not well- received in China, inspiring many critical reviews, including one from an anonymous commentator from the Peoples Daily. Sontag, Antonioni, Leys, and the anonymous critic are concerned with the clash in standards of perspective through which they portray China in visual works. Antonionis film and Sontag are similar in terms of their belief that a film can be much more profound by capturing the less visible aspects of a setting. His film, Chung Kuo, Cina , begins saying that Were not pretending to understand China. All we hope for is to present a large collection of faces, gestures, and customs (Chung Kuo, Cina). Antonioni did so by depicting the working class in various settings, such as factories, villages, and schools. He felt that the best way to capture China in his film was by presenting an old society that had largely been unseen and isolated from the Western world. Sontag in her book On Photography demonstrates an understanding of aesthetics similar to that of Antonioni and explains it as well....
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This note was uploaded on 04/04/2012 for the course WRIT 039 taught by Professor Stein during the Spring '08 term at UPenn.
- Spring '08