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China in the Mix - Cinema, Sound, and Popular Culture in the Age of Globalization

China in the Mix

Cinema, Sound, and Popular Culture in the Age of Globalization

By Ying Xiao
Paperback : 9781496823472, 326 pages, 80 b&w illustrations, February 2019
Hardcover : 9781496812605, 256 pages, 80 b&w illustrations, August 2017

A study of sound in Chinese film and media, especially its music and multilingual soundtrack, that amplifies a changing national power and global order


Scarce attention has been paid to the dimension of sound and its essential role in constructing image, culture, and identity in Chinese film and media. China in the Mix fills a critical void with the first book on the sound, languages, scenery, media, and culture in post-Socialist China. In this study, Ying Xiao explores fascinating topics, including appropriations of popular folklore in the Chinese new wave of the 1980s; Chinese rock 'n' roll and youth cinema in fin de siècle China; the political-economic impact of free market imperatives and Hollywood pictures on Chinese film industry and filmmaking in the late twentieth century; the reception and adaptation of hip hop; and the emerging role of Internet popular culture and social media in the early twenty-first century. Xiao examines the articulations and representations of mass culture and everyday life, concentrating on their aural/oral manifestations in contemporary Chinese cinema and in a wide spectrum of media and cultural productions.

China in the Mix offers the first comprehensive investigation of Chinese film, expressions, and culture from a unique, cohesive acoustic angle and through the prism of global media-cultural exchange. It shows how the complex, evolving uses of sound (popular music, voice-over, silence, noise, and audio mixing) in film and media reflect and engage the important cultural and socio-historical shifts in contemporary China and in the increasingly networked world. Xiao offers an innovative new conception of Chinese film and media and their audiovisual registers in the historiographical frame of China amid the global landscape.


"The important take-away from this book is not only the importance of sound and music to any analysis of an individual film text, but also the necessity of locating films in various larger intermedial frameworks to grasp their full cultural contribution. . . . China in the Mix is made even more valuable by the inclusion of a full filmography, glossary of Chinese characters, and bibliography—an apparatus skipped by too many publishers today. "

- Chris Berry, The China Quarterly