Saturday, March 28, 2015

SCMS Conference Notes, Saturday 3/28

Saturday afternoon I attended panels P8 "Decolonial Approaches to Feminist Film Theory" and Q10 "East Asia on the Move: Cinematic Transnationalism and East Asia" during the SCMS conference.

"Decolonial Approaches to Feminist Film Theory" contained numerous original and inspiring concepts; here I would like to note a few ideas that will likely influence my approach to filmic texts in the future. The panel members challenged the audience to consider how established hierarchies, positioned by the "certainty of signs," might be repositioned by considering depictions of organic relationships (Krista Lynes, Concordia University) and even scenes in which female figures are represented as not achieving the goals they set out to accomplish within fictional narrative films (Chair Jamie Rogers, UC Irvine). In addition, a decolonial feminist approach might highlight the ways that docudramas represent the complicity between patriarchy and national law (Gohar Siddiqui, University of Wisconsin-Platteville), and in the case of a recent documentary from India, how both the neo-liberal script and the right-wing nationalist script work to limit the mobility of women (Soumitree Gupta, Carroll College).

East Asia on the Move Panel, SCMS 2015

"East Asia on the Move: Cinematic Transnationalism and East Asia" considered how Hollywood "Shanghai films" of the 1930s and 1940s, such as Shanghai Express (Sternberg, 1932), might offer, contrary to readings of such films that maintain a West/East binary, the possibility for an alternative space of femininity and romance (Ying Xiao, University of Florida). Man Fung Yip's fascinating recent work fills a "blindspot" in scholarship by focusing on the mass-production of B-quality ninja films in Hong Kong during the 1980s, while chair Namhee Han concluded the panel by discussing how digitized colonial-era films in Korea have been inserted into recent Korean productions to create a sense of authenticity while, at the same time, digital re-creations of colonial-era films have also found their way into mainstream productions. Sangjoon Lee, from Nanyang Technological University, framed and contextualized the articles in a sophisticated manner that nicely rounded out the discussion.

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