Special issue of Taiwan Lit–cfp

Call for papers: Special Issue of Taiwan Lit
Theme: Mobility in the 21st Century Taiwan Literature and Film
Guest editors: Pei-yin Lin, Hsin-Chin Evelyn Hsieh, Wan-jui Wang

While Taiwan-centric nativization has been a prominent trend in post-martial law Taiwan literature and film, there has been a notable transformation in literary works and films in the new millennium. This transformation has been characterized by endeavors to explore Taiwan’s intricate interactions with the global community, specifically through the lens of people’s movement, migration, and displacement. As nearly a quarter-century has passed, it is now an opportune moment to reflect on how literary works and films produced in the past 25 years have portrayed Taiwan’s evolving social, cultural, and political landscape, as well as the experiences of individual writers and directors navigating these transformative shifts.

The term “mobility” can be understood from various perspectives. It can encompass the actual movements of Taiwanese people, both domestically from rural areas to cities or vice versa, and transnationally, such as traveling or living abroad facilitated by globalization. It also includes those who immigrate to Taiwan from elsewhere in search of better economic opportunities or more conducive creative environments. Literature and films provide creative outlets for expressing the challenges faced by individuals as they adapt to urban life, confront social disparities, and grapple with issues of identity and belonging. Continue reading

NUS media studies position


The Department of Chinese Studies and the Department of Japanese Studies at the National University of Singapore jointly invite applications for the post of Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) in East Asian Media and Film Studies. Two positions are available for this appointment. The successful candidates will be jointly appointed in both departments, with a higher weightage in the department their research focuses more on.

Applicants for this position should have a PhD in East Asian Studies, Film Studies, Media Studies, Comparative Literature, or any other relevant discipline. Successful applicants should be able to conduct research and teaching on China (including the Chinese diaspora) and Japan. Their research must cover either the modern or contemporary periods (from 1900s onwards). Scholars who can contribute to further interdisciplinarity in research or teaching are particularly encouraged to apply.

The successful applicant will be expected to have a strong commitment to a) teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels; b) providing supervision to undergraduate and graduate students and c) undertaking research in East Asian Media and Film Studies and other related fields; as well as d) playing an active role in both Departments’ curriculum and development. They should possess native-speaking, or near native-speaking, competence in English, Mandarin and Japanese. Continue reading

Jia Zhangke film nominated for Palme d’Or

Source: China Daily (4/12/24)
Jia Zhangke’s new movie nominated for Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival
By Xu Fan

Poster of Caught by the Tides. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Celebrated director Jia Zhangke, a pioneering figure in China’s arthouse cinema, has achieved a remarkable feat as his latest directorial work, Caught by the Tides, has been shortlisted to compete for the prestigious Palme d’Or at the upcoming 77th Cannes Film Festival. This marks the sixth time in his illustrious directorial career, spanning nearly three decades, that Jia has been recognized in this manner.

The unveiling of the main competition section lineup by Cannes’ organizers featured a host of high-profile rivaling movies, including Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ Kinds of Kindness, American filmmaker Paul Schrader’s Oh, Canada, and French director Jacques Audiard’s musical melodrama Emilia Perez.

Jia’s earlier achievements at Cannes include winning the Award for Best Screenplay for A Touch of Sin in 2013, a film interweaving four stories occurring in different provinces with respective violent ends. This recognition adds to the anticipation surrounding Caught by the Tides. Continue reading

Yolo–the feelgood female boxing movie

Source: The Guardian (3/31/24)
Knockout success of Yolo – the feelgood female boxing movie from China
Director and star Jia Ling – who reportedly lost 50kg to make comedy that rivals Dune 2 at box office – insists ‘it’s not a diet movie, not even about boxing’
By , Senior China correspondent

Director and star Jia Ling – who reportedly lost 50kg to make comedy that rivals Dune 2 at box office – insists ‘it’s not a diet movie, not even about boxing’

In a country where cinemas are normally dominated by wolf warrior blockbusters or nationalist historical epics, the surprise hit of China’s box office in 2024 is a feelgood comedy about a woman who transforms her lacklustre life – and herself – through boxing.

Released for the lunar new year holiday on 10 February, Yolo (You Only Live Once) has become the highest grossing film of the year in China, earning more than 3.4bn yuan (£375m) in less than two months, according to the China Movie Information Network. Globally, it is second only to Dune 2.

Critics and cinemagoers are divided about whether the film, a lighthearted comedy which has drawn comparisons with Rocky, is feminist or not. It is directed by and stars Jia Ling, a well-known comedian, who reportedly lost 50kg for the role in order to perform the physical as well as mental transformation of the main character, Du Leying, sparking a debate about body image. In February, Jia wrote on Weibo: “It’s not a diet movie, it’s not even about boxing”.

But Jia’s success as a female film-maker is undoubtedly a triumph. Her first film, the 2021 semi-autobiographical comedy Hi, Mom made her the highest-grossing solo female director of all time – until Greta Gerwig took that title in 2023 with Barbie. Continue reading

Murder plot behind Netflix’s ‘3 Body Problem’

Source: NYT (4/1/24)
The Bizarre Chinese Murder Plot Behind Netflix’s ‘3 Body Problem’
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
Lin Qi, a billionaire who helped produce the science-fiction hit, was poisoned to death by a disgruntled executive. His attacker now faces the death penalty.

A man in a black sweater and white T-shirt sits at a conference room desk behind a silver laptop.

Lin Qi spent millions to buy the rights to a Chinese science-fiction novel called “The Three-Body Problem” but was murdered before it launched as a television series. Credit…Zhang Zhi/Red Star News/Visual China Group, via Getty Images

Lin Qi was a billionaire with a dream. The video game tycoon had wanted to turn one of China’s most famous science-fiction novels, “The Three-Body Problem,” into a global hit. He had started working with Netflix and the creators of the HBO series “Game of Thrones” to bring the alien invasion saga to international audiences.

But Mr. Lin did not live to see “3 Body Problem” premiere on Netflix last month, drawing millions of viewers.

He was poisoned to death in Shanghai in 2020, at age 39, by a disgruntled colleague, in a killing that riveted the country’s tech and video-gaming circles where he had been a prominent rising star. That colleague, Xu Yao, a 43-year-old former executive in Mr. Lin’s company, was last month sentenced to death for murder by a court in Shanghai, which called his actions “extremely despicable.”

The court has made few specific details public, but Mr. Lin’s killing was, as a Chinese news outlet put it, “as bizarre as a Hollywood blockbuster.” Chinese media reports, citing sources in his company and court documents, have described a tale of deadly corporate ambition and rivalry with a macabre edge. Sidelined at work, Mr. Xu reportedly exacted vengeance with meticulous planning, including by testing poisons on small animals in a makeshift lab. (He not only killed Mr. Lin, but also poisoned his own replacement.)

Mr. Lin had spent millions of dollars in 2014 buying up copyrights and licenses connected to the original Chinese science-fiction book, “The Three-Body Problem,” and two others in a trilogy written by the Chinese author Liu Cixin. “The Three-Body Problem” tells the story of an engineer, called upon by the Chinese authorities to look into a spate of suicides by scientists, who discovers an extraterrestrial plot. Mr. Lin had wanted to build a franchise of global television shows and films akin to “Star Wars” and centered on the novels. Continue reading

Representations of Christianity in Chinese film


Bruce Lai’s “Representations of Christianity in Chinese Independent Cinema: Gan Xiao’er’s Postsocialist Religious Critique” is an open access article that investigates representations of Christianity in contemporary China in independent filmmaker Gan Xiao’er 甘小二’s feature film The Only Sons 山清水秀 (2003), Raised from Dust 舉自塵土 (2007), and Waiting for God 在期待之中 (2012).

Contemporary Chinese cinema offers limited representations of Christianity, leaving this area of study largely underexplored. Gan Xiao’er made three feature films, which are examined in this article within the context of postsocialist China. Gan’s films explore the religious experiences of Chinese Christians and provide a religious critique uncommon in Chinese cinema. These films engage with the struggles of marginalised individuals during the Reform era, addressing their spiritual needs. Gan’s films also interrogate local religious institutions, challenging rigid separation between the ‘holy’ and the ‘unholy,’ and seeking an inclusive interpretation of religious concepts of ‘love.’

You can read the article here: https://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/15/4/443

This article is part of the journal Religions‘ special issue Celluloid Jesus—Beyond the Text-Centric Paradigm (ISSN 2077-1444). Special Issue Editors: Dr. Chan Sok Park, Dr. Robyn Faith Walsh, and Dr. Teng-Kuan Ng

Lai, Yung-Hang Bruce. 2024. “Representations of Christianity in Chinese Independent Cinema: Gan Xiao’er’s Postsocialist Religious Critique” Religions 15, no. 4: 443. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15040443

Posted by: Yung-Hang Bruce Lai <brucelai@hotmail.com>

Wang Xiaoshuai draws censors’ wrath

Source: NYT (3/27/29)
Filmmaker Draws Censors’ Wrath: ‘A Price I Have to Accept’
Wang Xiaoshuai is among the few Chinese artists who refuse to bend to state limitations on the subjects they explore.
By Li Yuan

“I always strive for creative freedom,” Wang Xiaoshuai said. “But it’s become impossible because of the circumstances.” Credit…Olivia Lifungula for The New York Times

China’s film industry was operating under a planned economy when Wang Xiaoshuai graduated from Beijing Film Academy in 1989. Only a few studios, all state-owned, were allowed to make movies.

Eager to start careers as filmmakers, Mr. Wang and some friends scraped together about $6,000, borrowed a camera and persuaded a company to give them film for free. His directorial debut, “The Days,” about a despondent artist couple, was screened at film festivals in Europe in 1994. The British Broadcasting Corporation listed it as one of the 100 best films of all time.

But the Chinese film authorities weren’t happy. They barred Mr. Wang from working in the industry because he had screened “The Days” at foreign film festivals without their permission.

Mr. Wang, like many other artists in China, found ways around the ban, and he went on to become one of the country’s most acclaimed directors as the restrictions loosened. But last month, history repeated itself. When he screened his latest film, “Above the Dust,” at the Berlin International Film Festival, his company got a call from China’s censors. He was ordered to withdraw it or risk severe consequences.

“I didn’t expect that after 30 years, I would end up back in the same place,” he told me in an interview from London, where’s he’s staying for now. Continue reading

Current Trends in Contemporary Chinese-Language Cinema

Zoom panel discussion with Evans Chan (moderator), Gina Marchetti (Women Filmmakers and the Visual Politics of Transnational China in the #MeToo Era, 2023), Zhang Zhen (Women Filmmakers in Sinophone World Cinema, 2023), Ma Ran (Independent Filmmaking across Borders in  Contemporary Asia, 2019),  and Elena Pollacchi (Wang Bing’s Filmmaking of the China Dream, 2021).

Thursday, April 4, 5pm (EST)
Registration for the Zoom link: https://forms.gle/B5Kb1mvhqEFHXRcY8

Format: This panel brings together four authors who have recent publications on contemporary Chinese cinema from Amsterdam University Press. After an introduction by moderator Evans Chan, each panelist will present an illustrated overview and some key takeaways from her book of about fifteen minutes. Q&A follows.

Failed Animation, Limited Theory

Source: Association for Chinese Animation Studies (3/14/24)
Failed Animation, Limited Theory: Feminist Reflections in a Transnational Context
By Karen Redrobe
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I write with some informal responses to three questions posed by Daisy Yan Du as part of her invitation to give a lecture in the Association for Chinese Animation Studies’ series: “Why did Animating Film Theory [published in 2014] not cover China or Chinese animation? A gap for future scholars? Will Chinese animation be important for animation theories?” These are good and challenging questions that identify one of the limitations of that edited collection and I am grateful for their provocation. I enter this conversation in the spirit of what British feminist scholar Jacqueline Rose describes as “an ethics of failure” in her important essay, “Why War?” There, she describes a relationship between being willing to fail, “resisting the conviction of absolute truth,” to the avoidance of war and warlike violence.[1] Within Rose’s war-resistant ethics of failure, recognizing the limits of one’s own knowledge helps to make more conscious the things one did not even know one did not know in ways that make space for the limitations of others. As such, failure has relational potential that demonstrates little interest in moving toward triumphalist completion. No doubt my introduction to Animating Film Theory should have made the limits of its roots, frameworks, and concerns more explicit. Although we cannot travel backwards in time, the composited nature of animated time, like feminist theoretical critiques of linear and unidirectional temporalities, invites what Patricia White has described as “retrospectatorship.”[2] In trying to address Du’s questions, I am keenly aware of my lack of expertise in the area of Chinese animation theory; this project has helped me to think more deeply about how we define fields and subfields, and how we do or don’t foster dialogue across such categories of knowledge.

Rose’s “ethics of failure” resonates with the innovative scholarly paradigm Alix Beeston and Stefan Solomon foreground in their recent edited collection, Incomplete: the Feminist Possibilities of the Unfinished Film (2023), where the editors consider “unfinished projects as both projections and projectiles, pitched forward in time and space to new worlds, even as they manifest so clearly how the old worlds could not, or would not, sustain their development.[3]” I also hear a resonance between the ethics of incompletion, and Baryon Tensor Posadas’s discussions of science fiction and its affinity with what Arjun Appadurai calls “the ethics of possibility,” which requires us, Posadas suggests, to “break open the continuity of the present.”[4] Animation, with its frequent use of frame-by-frame and variable frame rate processes, is particularly adept at challenging linear time and inventing temporal visualizations that offer different ways to conceptualize and express time, and this inventive quality has sometimes been seen as limiting its utility for engaging the past and historical time. In “Animation, the Obsolescence of the Image, and the Disappearance of Hong Kong Architecture,” Yomi Braester registers a distinction—one that he suggests is “bound to fail”—between “medial time” and “historical time,” and asks, “Is animation especially equipped to address the link between medial time and historical time?”[5] In this paradigm, the “craft of the single frame” is linked to “pushing aside historical time” in favor of “fantastic temporalities,” but Posadas’s work on science fiction, along with other theoretical work I’ll discuss in these reflections, suggests that non-fantastical temporalities, more predictable and predetermined outcomes, are just as fabricated, just as much the product of particular imaginations of the future, as more fantastical variants. In short, I think there is exciting work to be done at the intersection of transnational animation studies, genre studies, intermedial animation studies (including between animation and built space), and the philosophy of history. Scholars of Chinese animation are among those playing a leading role in thinking across these areas. Continue reading

3 Body Problem sparks nationalist anger

Source: CNN (3/22/24)
Netflix blockbuster ‘3 Body Problem’ divides opinion and sparks nationalist anger in China
By , CNN

An opening scene of Netflix's "3 Body Problem" depicts a Maoist struggle session during China's Cultural Revolution.

An opening scene of Netflix’s “3 Body Problem” depicts a Maoist struggle session during China’s Cultural Revolution.

A Netflix adaptation of wildly popular Chinese sci-fi novel “The Three-Body Problem has split opinions in China and sparked online nationalist anger over scenes depicting a violent and tumultuous period in the country’s modern history.

Reactions have been mixed on Chinese social media since the Thursday premiere of the eight-part, English-language series “3 Body Problem,” which is based on the Hugo Award-winning novel by Liu Cixin, the country’s most celebrated sci-fi author.

Netflix is not available in China, but viewers can watch its content using virtual private networks (VPNs) to bypass strict geo-restrictions — or by consuming pirated versions.

Liu’s novel, part of a trilogy, is one of China’s most successful cultural exports in recent years, boasting legions of fans worldwide including former US President Barack Obama.

Among the country’s more patriotic internet users, discussions on the adaptation turned political, with some accusing the big-budget American production of making China look bad. Continue reading

Blossoms Shanghai as a tale of two cities

Source: ThinkChina (3/1/24)
Between Shanghai and Hong Kong: Blossoms Shanghai as a tale of two cities
By Ying Zhu, Professor, Academy of Film, Hong Kong Baptist University

Academic Ying Zhu observes that in Blossoms Shanghai directed by Wong Kar-wai, Shanghai is vivid, vibrant and evocative of both the glamour of a colonial Hong Kong and the hustle and bustle of a gilded age Shanghai. The TV drama speaks of the historical relationship between the two cities, and when the bright lights have dimmed, the ruins of the spectacle and the broken dreams. If geopolitical reshuffling in recent years has diminished Hong Kong’s lustre as a first-tier global city and the link between China and the rest of the world, what does the future have in store for Shanghai?

A publicity poster for Blossoms Shanghai starring Hu Ge. (Internet)

A publicity poster for Blossoms Shanghai starring Hu Ge. (Internet)

Blossoms Shanghai (《繁花》), the 30-episode TV drama, captures in a prosaic fashion life in the fast lane of A Bao, a dashing Shanghai man with a can-do spirit who accumulates dazzling wealth during Shanghai’s boom times. Market speculation and import-export manipulation were shortcuts to getting rich, and Bao is dexterous at both. Blossoms Shanghai captures a moment of Shanghai in golden glory and a state of euphoria.

The impressionistic and stylised images of Shanghai in Blossoms Shanghai attests to the director Wong Kar-wai’s abiding yearning for Shanghai, the city of his birth. Blossoms Shanghai also carries a torch for Hong Kong, with the drama bearing imprints of Wong’s adoptive city, from his generous appropriation of Hong Kong pop for soundtracks to his actual plot linking Hong Kong to Shanghai of the 1990s. The Shanghai in Wong’s cinematic imagination is vivid, vibrant and evocative of both the glamour of a colonial Hong Kong and the hustle and bustle of a gilded age Shanghai. Continue reading

Reimagining Queer Chinese Screen Studies

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to share the publication of the special issue “Reimagining queer Chinese screen studies” of the Journal of Chinese Cinemas coedited by Jamie J. Zhao and Hongwei Bao, which may be of interest to some in this group. Some of the articles are open access on the journal’s site. Please kindly find its TOC and links copied below:

Special Issue of the Journal of Chinese Cinemas
Reimagining queer Chinese screen studies
Guest edited by Jamie J. Zhao and Hongwei Bao

Introduction: Queer screens with Chinese characteristics?: Reimagining queer Chinese screen studies in the twenty-first century
By Jamie J. Zhao and Hongwei Bao

Digital video activism: Fan Popo’s queer Asian diasporic politics
By Hongwei Bao

Queer cinemas of the Sinosphere: Queer China goes out
By Zoran Lee Pecic

Queering the cinematic border of the PRC and Hong Kong: On Fruit Chan’s prostitute trilogy
By Alvin K. Wong

Taking a queer-friendly stance under censorship: Beijing International Short Film Festival as an alternative site for screening Chinese queer shorts
By Heshen Xie

Queering community: The affect of visuality in the Sinosphere
By Jinyan Zeng

Toward a cinematic transtopia
By Victor Fan

Heart and body: Queer crossings in Go Princess Go
Carlos Rojas

Posted by: Lila Yang thelandfilled@gmail.com (On behalf of Dr. Jamie J. Zhao)

Hidden Luminaries–cfp

CFP: Hidden Luminaries: Obscure Actresses and Women Filmmakers in Chinese Film History
Special issue of Journal of Chinese Cinemas 
Guest Editors: David John Boyd (University of Glasgow) and Jessica Siu-yin Yeung (Lingnan University)
Associate Editor: Yiman Wang (University of California, Santa Cruz)

This issue will contribute to the field of Chinese women’s cinema, with studies on individual actresses and women filmmakers who have either faded from cultural or institutional memory, or who are significant in their own region but are under-studied in Anglophone scholarship.

In “The Life of the Obscure” (1924–25), Virginia Woolf proposes that the biographies of obscure and common people who led fascinating lives is crucial for recovering silenced histories. These obscure lives gain their significance through their collective worth of historicity, hence shifting the paradigm in life-writing practices from dominant, single lives of Great Men to minor, group lives of ordinary civilians. One of the roles of these forgotten individuals, to Woolf, is to introduce new perspectives on “greatness” and “lives.” This issue takes its cue from this approach and invites contributors to democratise Chinese-language film history, archive the historiographies of women film workers in contemporary form, and further problematise the notion of “Chinese” actresses and filmmakers in existing discourse. Continue reading

So Long, My Son review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of “The Two Versions of So Long, My Son,” by Thomas Chen. The review–of a Wang Xiaoshuai film–appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/online-series/so-long-my-son/.


Kirk Denton, MCLC

The Two Versions of So Long, My Son

By Thomas Chen

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright February 2024)

Advertising poster for So Long, My Son.

Wang Xiaoshuai’s 王小帅 So Long, My Son (地久天长; 2019), now available to stream for the first time in the U.S. on Mubi, is a tour de force of epic proportions. Ostensibly about the human costs of China’s one-child policy, which was implemented around 1980 to curb population growth, the story of the 185-minute film spans over thirty years from the early 1980s to the 2010s and is centered around two families. Liyun and Yaojun—played by Yong Mei 咏梅 and Wang Jingchun 王景春, respectively, in Silver Bear-winning roles—are factory workers in a fictionalized city in the northern province of Inner Mongolia. They are close friends with Haiyan and Yingming, the former the supervisor of family planning at the same factory. Liyun and Yaojun lose their son, Xingxing, in a drowning accident involving Haiyan and Yingming’s son, Haohao. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Liyun and Yaojun flee and eventually settle along the coast of Fujian province in the south. The film’s nonlinear narrative crisscrosses the three decades and two locales.

So Long, My Son is Wang Xiaoshuai’s twelfth fictional feature. Born in 1966, the year the Cultural Revolution began, Wang is frequently dubbed a member of Chinese cinema’s “Sixth Generation” that started making films in the 1990s outside the state studio system. Like others of his “generation,” most notably Jia Zhangke 贾樟柯, he eventually reentered the system, his films screened by censors in order to be then screened in theaters. Not coincidentally, Wang first conceived So Long, My Son in 2015, when the one-child policy—replaced by a two-child policy—effectively ended. Although popular films such as Dearest (親愛的; 2014, d. Peter Chan 陳可辛) and Wrath of Silence (暴裂无声; 2017, d. Xin Yukun 忻钰坤) have dealt with the loss of the only child, Wang’s is the first film widely released in China to broach the policy explicitly. Continue reading