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Dr. Hu Nan, Fudan University: Towards an Anticolonial Asian Cinema: the 1957 Asian Film Week and China’s Imagination of Asia
11. May 2023 @ 18:15 - 19:45
11. May, 18:15 – 19:45
This talk traces the forgotten history of the Asian Film Week held by and in China in 1957. It engages with two recent discussions of cultural politics in the Cold War era. First, there is a growing interest in Sino-Asian cultural relations in the 1950s and 1960s, but scholars have not focused attention on film festivals, which was a very important element of cultural diplomacy during the Cold War. Second, studies on film festivals among Asian countries in this period highlight events sponsored by either the U. S. or the Soviet Union, leaving the efforts and experiments of cinematic practices beyond the superpowers understudied. Drawing on a variety of sources including contemporary newspapers, magazines, festival brochures, local film gazetteers, government documents, and the films shown at the 1957 Asian Film Week, this talk demonstrates that film festival was a crucial part of China’s inter-Asian cultural diplomacy in the Bandung age and that the postcolonial Asian countries played an active role in defining “Asian cinema” and “Asianness” alternative to the superpowers’ imagination. Not only did the Film Week build an inter-Asian cinematic network beyond the Cold War divide to improve China’s diplomatic relations with many Asian countries, but it also sought to unite Asian filmmakers with anticolonial aesthetics and agenda, which challenged the cinema-as-entertainment model previously entrenched in other inter-Asian cinematic networks. This talk will also discuss the enduring influence of the Asian Film Week as an important event in the history of world cinema, including its connections with the Afro-Asian Film Festival (1958-1964) and the Third Cinema movement.
Nan Hu is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Fudan University, Shanghai. She earned her Ph. D. in Chinese and Comparative Literature in 2021 at Washington University in St. Louis, where she completed a dissertation entitled “In Other Voices: Dubbing Foreign Films in Maoist China (1949-1976).” Her current research projects explore the idea of inter-Asian solidarity among Chinese intellectuals around the 1960s, and the ways zoos have reconfigured the human-animal relationship vis-à-vis the Chinese projects of nation-building, modernity, and revolution. Her studies have been funded by the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, the Center for the Humanities at Washington University, Ministry of Education (Taiwan), and China Postdoctoral International Exchange Program, among others.
Prof. Dominic Sachsenmaier, University of Göttingen