Posts Tagged ‘chinese studies’

Chinese Cinema Book released

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Press release:

Song Hwee Lim and Julian Ward are delighted to announce the publication of The Chinese Cinema Book. Commissioned by the British Film Institute, The Chinese Cinema Book provides a comprehensive companion to the cinemas of the PRC, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Chinese diaspora, from early cinema to the present day. With contributions from leading international scholars, the book is structured around five thematic sections: Territories, Trajectories, Historiographies; Early Cinema to 1949; The Forgotten Period: 1949≠80; The New Waves; and Stars, Auteurs and Genres.

This important collection addresses film production and exhibition and places Chinese cinema in its national and transnational contexts. Individual chapters addresses major film movements such as the Shanghai Cinema of the 1930s, Fifth Generation Chinese film-makers and the Hong Kong New Wave, as well key issues, stars and auteurs of Chinese cinema. The book will be an invaluable resource for students and scholars, as well as for anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of the cinemas of Greater China.

The Chinese Cinema Book Edited by Song Hwee Lim and Julian Ward
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2011ISBN 9781844573448 for the paperback
and 9781844573455 for the hardback.

Table of Contents after the break.

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Award-Winning Director Huang Weikai in U.S. Until March – Available for Appearances

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Huang Weikai

From now until March 2011, director Huang Weikai will be available for screenings and lectures in the United States. Huang’s latest film Disorder is a groundbreaking work of experimental documentary that has won prizes and screened at festivals around the world. The Atlantic calls it “one of the most mesmerizing films I’ve seen in ages!”

If you are interested in bringing Disorder and Huang Weikai to your institution or university for a screening, Q&A or guest lecture, please contact exhibitions *at* dgeneratefilms *dot* com.

BIOGRAPHY

Huang Weikai was born in 1972 in Guangdong Province, China. He studied Chinese painting for 15 years and graduated from the Chinese Art Department of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. He used to work as a cinema promoter, art editor, graphic designer, movie script writer and cameraman. Since 2002, he has been directing independent films. His 2009 found-footage documentary, Disorder has been acclaimed as “One of the most mesmerizing films I’ve seen in ages” by Hua Hsu in The Atlantic for its unflinching look at the absurdity and anarchy of urban life in contemporary China.

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Online Project on Chinese Underground Cinema and Piracy

Friday, April 9th, 2010

We were pleased to discover this wonderful online project created by Dan Carrington, a student at the University of Amsterdam, as part of a class blog project titled “Curating the Moving Image.” Carrington’s project, titled “Chinese Underground Cinema and Piracy: ‘Images that Cannot be Banned,'” is an online resource intended to expand interest and discussion about Chinese underground cinema. From the introduction:

“Images that Cannot be Banned” will offer a program of both fictional and documentary feature films as a way of introducing and exploring an interest in Chinese underground cinema. Through contextualisation, the primary intention of the selection is not to produce a ‘canonical’ list, but rather, to construct a snapshot of underground and independent filmmaking by tracing a web of links and commonalities inherent within emerging trends in Chinese filmmaking over the past decade.

What I like about this statement is the desire to resist producing a canon or list of key films. While there are several films that would be worthy of such a distinction, the Chinese underground cinema movement is a relatively new phenomenon still in the process of maturing and defining its historical legacy. It should be acknowledged that dGenerate took a significant step in commemorating the achievements of the movement with our poll of the greatest Chinese films of the 2000s, in which numerous digital independent productions were cited. But at the same time, there is such a wealth of creative activity being generated by the Chinese underground scene, that singling out specific films risks misrepresenting the collective nature of the movement, as a response to a larger and multifaceted sense of crisis underlying the radical social development of China in the post-Reform era.

It’s encouraging to see that a number of articles found on the dGenerate site are linked by Carrington as key resources for learning about Chinese underground cinema, as well as our short documentary Digital Underground in the People’s Republic, which, we hope, gives an impression of how much this aesthetic movement is the result of a collective effort involving not just directors, but producers, programmers and audiences.

Call for Papers at Summer and Fall Chinese Conferences

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

We’d like to share announcements calling for papers for three academic conferences on Chinese studies. The first is for the Rocky Mountain MLA Conference, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 14-16, 2010. Second is for Chinese Cinema in the US since 1979 to be held at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, October 8-10, 2010. The third is for the 2010 Melbourne Conference on China: Chinese Elites and their Rivals – Past, Present and Future, at the The University of Melbourne, Australia, July 19-20 2010. Details after the break.

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CinemaTalk: a Conversation with Tami Blumenfield

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

dGenerate Films presents CinemaTalk, an ongoing series of conversations with esteemed scholars of Chinese cinema studies. These conversations are presented on this site in audio podcast and/or text format. They are intended to help the Chinese cinema studies community keep abreast of the latest work being done in the field, as well as to learn what recent Chinese films are catching the attention of others. This series reflects our mission to bring valuable resources and foster community around the field of Chinese film studies.

Tami Blumenfield (photo courtesy of University of Washington / Tami Blumenfield)

Tami Blumenfield (photo courtesy of University of Washington / Tami Blumenfield)

Tami Blumenfield is a Lecturer at the University of Washington. Her research mainly focuses on the education and media representation of minorities in southwest China, especially the Moso and Na. Her teaching areas cover movement and media representation in contemporary China, indigenous media, kinship studies, visual anthropology, and anthropology of education. Tami Blumenfield is also one of the organizers of the Moso Media Projects, which comprises the Moso Film Festival, participatory media production, and ethnographies of Moso Media.

In this conversation with dGenerate’s Kevin Lee, Tami shares her engagement and interaction with the Moso community, and articulates the effect of filmmaking process on local people and culture with vivid examples from her own experience. She draws particular attention to the ethics of representation, the significance of collaborative projects, and the role of filmmakers and researchers from an anthropological point of view.

Play the Podcast (Time: 22:04)

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Download it here (right-click to download). (File size: 20.7 MB)

Click through for a list of Tami’s publications and a timecoded index of topics covered in the interview.

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CinemaTalk: A Conversation with Lu Xinyu

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

dGenerate Films presents CinemaTalk, an ongoing series of conversations with esteemed scholars of Chinese cinema studies. These conversations are presented on this site in audio podcast and/or text format. They are intended to help the Chinese cinema studies community keep abreast of the latest work being done in the field, as well as to learn what recent Chinese films are catching the attention of others. This series reflects our mission to bring valuable resources and foster community around the field of Chinese film studies.

Lyu

Lu Xinyu (photo courtesy of UCLA International Institute)

Lu Xinyu is Professor and Director of the Radio and TV Department, School of Journalism, Fudan University, Shanghai, China. Professor Lu is widely regarded as the leading scholar on independent Chinese documentaries. Her influential book Documenting China: The New Documentary Movement (Beijing, SDX Joint Publishing Company, 2003) was the first book to systematically theorize the New Documentary Movement in China from the beginning of 1990s. She spent the past academic year as a visiting scholar in the department of cinema studies at New York University.

Selected Publications by Lu Xinyu:

Books:

  • Writing and What It Obscures (Guangxi Normal University Press, 2008)
  • Documenting China: The Contemporary Documentary Movement in China (SDX Joint Publishing Company, Beijing, 2003)
  • Mythology. Tragedy. Aristotle’s Art of Poetry: New Concept to Ancient Greek’s Poetics Tradition (Fudan University Press, Shanghai, 1995)

Papers and Articles:

  • “The Power and Pain of Chinese New Documentary Movement”, Dushu No. 5, 2006.
  • “Ruins of the Future Class and History in Wang Bing’s Tiexi District”, New Left Review, 31 Jan/Fab 2005. London.
  • “Tiexi District: History and Class Consciousness”, Dushu No. 1, 2004.
  • “The History of Documentary and the Document of the History”, Journalism Quarterly, Winter, 2003.
  • “A Memorandum about Contemporary Chinese Documentary Development”, South China Television Journal No. 6, 2002 and No. 1, 2003.
  • “Began from the Other Side: New Documentary Movement in China”, Frontiers No. 3, 2002.

In this interview conducted by dGenerate’s Yuqian Yan, Lu Xinyu told us about her current work during her visit in New York and how she was attracted to independent Chinese documentary from an aesthetic and humanist background. Starting from Aristotle’s poetic concept of “tragedy”, she led us to understand the New Documentary Movement as a unique art form that depicts the tragic life of ordinary people in the rapidly changing Chinese society. The interview was conducted in Chinese. Full English transcript after the break.

Play the Podcast (in Mandarin Chinese) (Time: 16:43)

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Download it here (right-click to download). (File Size:7.7 MB)

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A Myriad of Lights: Report from the AAS Annual Meeting

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

This year’s Association of Asian Studies (AAS) Annual Meeting, held in downtown Chicago, was a massive exhibition of intellectual exchange, featuring nearly 250 panels and over 1300 presenters. As my first visit to AAS, it was an excellent opportunity to finally meet many scholars with whom I’ve corresponded about Chinese cinema over the past year, and familiarize myself with the exciting work of many others.

Among the thousands of attendees and multiple event options at a given time, it was easy to feel overwhelmed. How fortunate that by pure coincidence the first person I met at the conference was Peter K. Frost, former Chair of Asian Studies at my alma mater, Williams College, and now with the Croft Institute for International Studies at the University of Mississippi. I also met Jim Cheng, who manages the largest East Asian Studies media library in the country at UC San Diego. He introduced me to several of his esteemed colleagues and shared exciting news about his upcoming follow-up to his 2004 Annotated Bibliography on Chinese Cinema, this time focusing on Taiwanese cinema.
I focused my panel attendance on topics most relevant to those represented in dGenerate’s film offerings, to see how those issues were being discussed among academia. My first panel was perhaps most relevant, as it concerned contemporary documentary film culture in China. Chaired by Robert Chi (UCLA), the panel featured a startling variety of perspectives. Xinyu Lu (Fudan University) contemplated theoretical frameworks for understanding Chinese documentaries; Paola Voci (U. of Otago) examined the sub-genre on animated documentary; and Paola Iovene (U. Chicago) analyzed the aesthetic implications of visual testimony behind the social documentary Before the Flood by Li Yifan and Yan Yu. Seio Nakajima (U. Hawaii-Manoa) and Yingchi Chu (Murdoch) both invoked Jurgen Habermas to discuss the effectiveness of Chinese documentary culture as social discourse, Nakajima focusing specifically on the phenomenon of urban Chinese film clubs. Presenting at another panel, Tami Blumenfield’s report on film festivals in Yunnan, such as the Yunnan Multi-Culture Visual Festival and the Moso Film Festival (which she helped to organize), would have fit perfectly among these presentations.
On my last day at the conference, I was faced with a dilemma familiar to attendees: two very interesting panels occurring simultaneously. Fortunately (or unfortunately), “Beijing in the Shadow of Globalization” and “Representing Childhood and Youth in Modern China” were a few doors from each other, so I decided to shuttle back and forth glean as much as I could from both; given that it was my first conference experience, I decided I was better off going with breadth than depth. All the same I enjoyed a good deal of the presentations on youth in China, including Weihong Bao (Columbia) on “Performing the Colonial Child: Gender, Nature and East Asian Colonial Modernity” and Lanjun Xu (National University of Singapore), who discussed one of my favorite Chinese films of the 1940s, San Mao liulang ji. At the Beijing panel, Sheldon Lu (UC Davis) illustrated how the Olympic Games have utterly transformed public and private spaces in Beijing, and Zhang Yue reported on the travesty of the city’s historical preservation efforts. I especially enjoyed a slide show by Jerome Silbergeld (Princeton), who compared the theme park properties of Beijing both during and following the Olympics with the cinematic depiction of a comparable phenomenon in Jia Zhangke’s film The World. It made for a vivid illustration of life imitating art, an art which itself is concerned with a society consumed by imitation: of the West, of prosperity, of culture.
There were other panels that I caught snatches of, and many more that I missed altogether, but all in all it amounted to massive exposure to a wealth of great minds and ideas. I’m looking forward to familiarizing myself to them over time.
Other attendees of this year’s AAS are invited to post their own highlights and memorable presentations in the comments section!