Ideas, words, images and stories travel from west to east – and from east to west. Stories are chosen and retold in different settings and images are reproduced and appropriated into new contexts – and in new times. Cinema, in this case the mainland Chinese, becomes both a space of production and a production of space that reveals how transnational and translocal mechanisms affect the cinematic language, transforming the images and stories chosen for the cinematic representation. Wang Xiaoshuai’s Beijing Bicycle (Shiqi Sui de Danche) (2001) is a result of transnational currents weaving the carpet of the global. Beijing Bicycle is thematically similar to Vittorio de Sicas neorealist classic Bicycle Thieves (1948) and Akira Kurosawas filmnoir classic Stray Dog (1949). Both films describe a disillusioned post-war society in an impoverished Italy and a humiliated Japan respectively. The stories told become relevant in a new context – that of the Chinese mainland society in the 21st century. Doreen Massey (2005: 9) defines space as “a simultaneity of stories-so-far”, a space that is constantly exploding and imploding with the influx of new and old stories. Within this theoretical framework Wang Xiaoshuai’s Beijing Bicycle can be understood as the result of stories-so-far, as the cinematic representation of the globalized ”space” within the setting of the national. Beijing Bicycle is a production of space as well as a space of production, since it tells a new story in the trajectory of stories-so-far and simultaneously is a direct result of these stories.
Creative Spaces: Seeking the Dynamics of Change, 2012, p. 156-177