By Maya E. Rudolph
Song Hwee Lim and Julian Ward are editors of the recently published The Chinese Cinema Book (BFI and Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
Song Hwee Lim is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Exeter. He is the author of Celluloid Comrades: Representations of Male Homosexuality in Contemporary Chinese Cinemas (University of Hawaii Press, 2006), co-editor of Remapping World Cinema: Identity, Culture and Politics in Film (Wallflower Press, 2006), and founding editor of the Journal of Chinese Cinemas. His next monograph, Tsai Ming-liang and a Cinema of Slowness, will appear in 2013.
Julian Ward is Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies attached to the Asian Studies department of the University of Edinburgh. He is Associate Editor of the Journal of Chinese Cinemas and has written articles on the representation in film in different eras of Communist China of the Sino-Japanese War. He is the author of Xu Xiake (1587–1641): The Art of Travel Writing (2000), a study of China’s foremost travel writer of the imperial period.
The Chinese Cinema Book, published earlier this year, provides a crucial and comprehensive guide to Chinese cinema history, contemporary scholarship, and a range of discussions of Chinese cinema in both national and trans-national contexts. Incorporating contributions from many leading scholars in the field of Chinese cinema studies, as well as writings from editors Lim and Ward, the book is divided into five thematic sections: Territories, Trajectories, Historiographies; Early Cinema to 1949; The Forgotten Period: 1949–80; The New Waves; and Stars, Auteurs and Genres.
dGF: In the prologue to “The Chinese Cinema Book,” you state that, despite its rather authoritative title, “this book does not pretend to offer a comprehensive coverage of Chinese cinema throughout its long and complicated history and multifarious manifestations,” but rather aims to provide “an overview of the âˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨Ã€Ãºstate of the field’.” In selecting works to represent the “state of the field” and assembling this most recent collection of scholarship, what was your approach to comprehensively taking the temperature of today’s climate for Chinese cinema studies?
SL and JW: First of all, we’re fully aware that this is an English-language publication designed to be a useful resource for academics and students, and that it should also appeal to a general readership. This means covering fairly familiar territories while introducing some new areas, and bearing in mind the availability of film materials on DVDs with English subtitles. In our other role as editors of the Journal of Chinese Cinemas, we are keenly attuned to the state of the field in terms of established and emerging scholarship, and we therefore attempt to reflect that in this book as well. Overall, we are pleased with the coverage of the book in terms of the range of topics and scholars.