Global film series to focus on Chinese-language cinema


Chinese-language cinema will be the focus of an upcoming series of virtual lectures and films co-sponsored by the English Department’s Center for Global Film and the Confucius Institute.

The series will begin at 4 p.m. on October 21 with a Zoom talk by Christopher Rea, professor of modern Chinese literature at the University of British Columbia, on the theme “What Disney (and the rest of us) can learn of the early Mulan Film survivors. Prior to the conference, attendees are encouraged to view the film “Hua Mu Lan” (1939), directed by Richard Poh (Bu Wancang), and the Disney version of “Mulan” (2020), directed by Niki Caro.

Rea recently translated “Hua Mu Lan” into English. He also maintains a website on early Chinese films that makes them more accessible to the public, an initiative closely linked to his recently published book, “Chinese Film Classics, 1922-1949 ”(Columbia University Press, 2021).

The series is curated and curated by Tanya Shilina-Conte, Assistant Professor of Global Film Studies in the Department of English. The online series will build on the success of the annual Riverrun Global film series, held at the Burchfield Penney Art Center from 2017-19 and featured films and filmmakers from Iran, Cuba and Mexico. .

Chinese-language cinema is known for its reflexivity in the midst of political and socio-cultural changes, producing a range of films ranging from melodramas and documentaries to collaborative co-productions. These genres typically grapple with cross-cultural themes that make them ideally suited to the global film series‘ concern to better understand our increasingly transnational world.

“The selected lectures and films trace the chronological development of Chinese-language cinema, starting in the late 1930s and ending with contemporary films from the 2000s,” explains Shilina-Conte. “In addition to mainland China, the series focuses on Taiwan and Hong Kong, features films by queer women and directors, tackles the topic of film censorship as a social practice, and revisits one of the previous films in the context of the current COVID-19. pandemic.

“The series will continue its annual tradition of including at least one film restored by the Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, created by Martin Scorsese,” she said. “To recognize the foundation’s efforts to preserve the gems of world cinema, we will focus on ‘Xiao Wu’ (Pickpocket, 1997) by Jia Zhangke, a key figure in the “Sixth Generation” movement in Chinese cinema. I hope the possibilities of our new virtual platform will further extend the impact of the series. ”

William Solomon, Professor and Acting Chair of the English Department, notes that the Film Studies program “plays a prominent role in our curriculum and the various film courses and public events we offer (such as the Buffalo Film Seminars and the Global Film Series) remain very attractive to students across the university.

“While introducing UB students and faculty to international cinema, our annual Global Film Series continues to be one of the most essential ways for the English department to reach out to the western community. of New York, ”Solomon said.

Zhiqiang Liu, director of the UB Confucius Institute and professor of economics, says the Confucius Institute is delighted to collaborate with the Center for Global Film and Shilina-Conte on the series of lectures given by six eminent Chinese film scholars in North American universities. “Their knowledge and ideas will be very valuable to all teachers, students and community members who are interested in Chinese culture and world cinema,” said Liu.

The series, which is free and open to the public, continues from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. every Thursday until December 2. Following the October 21 conference on Mulan, the following conferences include:

  • October 28: “Madame Mao and Cinema: Actress, Critic, Censorship and Producer”, by Jie Li, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Humanities, Harvard University. Featured films: “The Red Female Detachment” by Xie Jin (1961) or “The Red Female Detachment” by Pan Wenzhan and Fu Jie (1971); and “In the Heat of the Sun” by Jiang Wen (1994).
  • November 4: “New Socialist Wave: Zhang Nuanxin and the Chinese Women’s Cinema of the 1980s,” by Lingzhen Wang, Professor of East Asian Studies, Brown University. Recommended film: “The sacrificed youth” by Zhang Nuanxin (1985).
  • November 11: “Xiao Wu by Jia Zhangke: Chinese Cinema in Transition”, by Michael Berry, professor of modern Chinese literature and cinema, University of California-Los Angeles. Recommended film: “Xiao Wu” by Jia Zhangke (Pickpocket, 1997).
  • November 18: “Pandemic Premonitions: Revisiting ‘The Hole’ by Tsai Ming-liang”, by Jean Ma, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, Stanford University. Recommended film: “The Hole” by Tsai Ming-liang (1998).
  • December 2: “‘We Are Alive’: Minor Transnationalism and Yau Ching’s Experimental Filmmaking”, by Zhen Zhang, associate professor of film studies, New York University. Recommended film: “We Are Alive” by Yau Ching (2010).

Links to recommended lectures and films will be sent to registered attendees prior to each online event. The Media Collections at UB Libraries have added a few movies to the university’s Kanopy streaming service and purchased DVDs where possible. Some recommended movies are also available through familiar streaming services, as well as on YouTube with English subtitles.

To subscribe to the series, send an email to Confucius Institute UB.

For more information, visit the Global Film Series website.


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