Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend a number of excellent panels, including: E5 "Colonialism in Chinese Cinema: Reconfiguring the Past; Renegotiating Its Global Future." I was drawn to the panel's presentations on both the Cold War period in Asia as well as the use of transnational theory. Highlights, in my view, include the following:
Chair: Yanhong Zhu - Washington and Lee University
Victor Fan - King's College London
“Politics at Play: Jazz and Chinese Cinema, 1937–1949”
What I enjoyed about this presentation is the way Victor Fan locates the use of jazz music in Shanghai films from 1937-49 as a site where "colonial and national subjectivities" intersect. An historical contextualization of the Shanghai music, literary, and art scene -- for example, the KMT New Life movement and Japanese occupation -- was carefully interwoven into the analysis.
Jing Jing Chang - Wilfrid Laurier University
“The Cold War Project of the Southern Film Corporation: Film Distribution and Censorship in British Hong Kong”
Jing Jing Chang's presentation described the Southern Film Corporation's distribution of communist ideology, in cinematic form -- particularly historical films -- in Hong Kong and abroad during the Cold War. Her presentation highlighted the film topics that caused the most anxiety among the British colonizer's censorship apparatus, leading the censors to alter and ban certain Southern Film Corporation films.
Wei Yang - University of the South
"My Blueberry Nights Revisited: Wong Kar-wai and Transnational Auteurism”
Using Wong Kar-wai's My Blueberry Nights (2007) as case study, Wei Yang's interesting presentation critiques Wong's foray into filmmaking in English, as well as the critical response to his film. Placing Wong Kar-wai alongside other auteur directors who make films outside of their initial localities leads to a fascinating discussion on the "transnational auteur."
Frederik Green - San Francisco State University
“The Twelve Chinese Zodiacs: Jackie Chan, Ai Weiwei, and the Aesthetics (and Politics) of Revisiting a National Wound”
The panel concluded with an enlightening comparison and contrast of the presentation of China's zodiac heads as they are presented, with very different intentions, in Jackie Chan's film Chinese Zodiac (2012) and Ai Weiwei's artwork on this subject.
Post-panel discussion, Seattle 2014.