After 30 years of filmmaking, Wáng Xiǎoshuài 王小帅 has adapted to the changing conditions of the Chinese film industry with the same entrepreneurial energy as in the 1990s, when international film festivals recognized him as one of the most prominent young Chinese directors. He — along with his “Sixth Generation” contemporaries — was among the first to venture into independently financed film production. His latest, The Hotel, feels like a return to his roots, because once again the director worked independently of big studios, with a very low budget and in a limited timeframe.
The Hotel is a direct reflection of pandemic realities both on and off screen. It would not exist if two filmmaking families — Wang and his wife, the film producer Liú Xuán 刘璇; and producer Zhāng Yuán 张元 and his wife, the scriptwriter Níng Dài 宁岱, and their actress-director daughter Níng Yuányuán 宁元元 — had not decided to spend Chinese New Year together in Chiang Mai with a group of their friends: poet and novelist Yě Fū 野夫, model and actress Qú Yǐng 瞿颖, actress and TV host Huáng Xiǎolěi 黄小蕾, and actor and TV host Dài Jūn 戴军 — all of whom agreed to star in the film. Wang explains that shooting took only 14 days, preceded by 10 days of looking for film equipment eventually obtained from a Thai film crew that finished shooting a commercial just as Chiang Mai was going into lockdown. Continue reading →
Set in Hong Kong, Table for Six tells the story of three half-brothers living under the same roof and struggling through relationship and family problems. The wholesome “melan-comedy” by writer-director Sunny Chan (陳詠燊 Chén Yǒngshēn) stands out thanks to its delicate handling of mature romantic relationships and uniquely Hong Kong setting (despite barely showing skyscrapers and busy streets).
Commercially, the production has enjoyed great success. Originally timed for the Lunar New Year holiday in February, the title’s release had to be postponed due to the city’s COVID prevention measures. Nevertheless, when it was released on September 8, right ahead of Mid-Autumn Festival, it set an opening day local record for a comedy in Hong Kong.
List members might be interested in the following, a recently published special issue of Cultural History on “Cultural History and Heritage in Chinese Theme Parks,” guest edited by Florian Freitag and Chang Liu
Tenured/Tenure-track Position in Global China Studies – Traditional Chinese Literature
NYU Shanghai is currently inviting applications for a position in Traditional Chinese Literature at the rank of assistant, associate, or full professor in Global China Studies.
The Global China Studies program is a 4-year undergraduate major at NYU Shanghai that provides students with an intellectual foundation in Chinese history, language, and society. Beyond the scope of conventional area studies, this innovative interdisciplinary major allows students to cultivate critical skills and up-to-date knowledge about China. It aims at deepening their understanding of China’s interactions with the wider world as well as comprehending the trends within China, at individual, societal, state, and global levels, and in the context of socio-economic, religious, cultural, and political transformations.
Candidates must have completed a Ph.D. in Chinese Studies, Asian Studies, Literature, or a closely related discipline before the appointment begins (July 2023). We invite applications from candidates who research any time period prior to 1911. The position entails teaching classical Chinese and courses on traditional Chinese literature that enable students to explore genres as well as Chinese literary theories. Candidates whose research crosses disciplinary, temporal, and national boundaries are particularly welcome. Continue reading →
Qu Tongzhou, 28, a Shanghai resident. She recently used dating apps to make friends as she went on a trip to western China. Credit…Qilai Shen for The New York Times
When Qu Tongzhou, a photography assistant in Shanghai, set out on a long-awaited trip to western China in June, she found the cities she visited to be unwelcoming. As an aftereffect of the country’s “zero-Covid” policies, locals were leery of travelers, and some hotels refused Ms. Qu, fearing she could introduce the virus.
So Ms. Qu turned to Tantan and Jimu, two popular Chinese dating apps with Tinder-like features. She was aware of the risks involved in meeting strangers, but the apps yielded a wellspring of new friends, including a biotech entrepreneur in the city of Lanzhou, a Tibetan doctor in the town of Xining, and a public official in Karamay, a northwest city of Xinjiang. At each stop, her matches provided lodging and took her to bars and other local spots.
“If I didn’t use these apps, I wouldn’t have met many people,” Ms. Qu, 28, said. “No one would have taken me out on the town.”
Over the past two years, China has cracked down on much of its domestic technology industry, banning for-profit online tutoring agencies, restricting video games and slapping multi-billion-dollar antitrust fines on the largest online shopping platforms. Some of China’s once-vaunted tech titans, like Jack Ma, the founder of the e-commerce firm Alibaba, have stepped back from public view. But one corner of China’s technology industry has flourished: dating apps. Continue reading →
The University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies and the Asian Studies Program welcome writer and editor Louise Law for a discussion of Hong Kong literature in translation—a discussion of a literary landscape that reflects the complicated geographic, linguistic, and political history of the city itself. What exactly are we talking about when we talk about Hong Kong Literature, especially in translation? How many works have been translated into English and how many have yet to be uncovered? This talk will give an overview of Hong Kong Literature in the past 70 years, highlighting key writers who are representative of the spirit of Hong Kong.
After a short lecture, Louise Law will engage in a conversation with award-winning literary translators Jennifer Feeley and Andrea Lingenfelter, followed by Q&A with the audience. Continue reading →
POSITION: Associate Professor in Transnational Chinese / Sinophone Literary, Film, and Media Studies
University of California, San Diego Open date: September 28, 2022 Next review date:Thursday, Dec 1, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
The Literature Department at the University of California, San Diego invites applications for an Associate Professor position in comparative Inter-Asia studies, whose work focuses on transnational Chinese / Sinophone literature, cinema, and media. We are especially interested in candidates who work on the movement, global circulation, and exchange of Sinophone cultural productions and media ecologies. Candidates should demonstrate a broad interest in modern and contemporary Chinese / Sinophone literature, film, media, and cultural studies and have innovative research that engages these fields across historical, transregional, global, and multilingual configurations. We look for a colleague with an exemplary record of research, teaching, and service who will contribute to interdisciplinary fields including, but not limited to, new media studies, cinema studies, gender studies, science and technology studies, critical race studies, environmental studies, urban studies, and disability studies.The successful candidate for this position will enhance a campus-wide cluster of excellence in Transpacific Asian Studies and collaborate with Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies, Transnational Korean Studies, Film Studies, History, and Global Policy and Strategy (GPS). Continue reading →
Gao Xingjian won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2000 for a body of literary works originally written and published in Chinese and later translated and published in English, French, and Swedish. Gao’s plays have been performed in even more languages on the stages of Asia, Europe, United States, Africa, and Australia. He is also recognized as a painter of international significance; in 2015 his six-panel work The Awakening of the Consciousness became the sole permanent display of a designated room in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. His extraordinary creative achievements draw on his innate talents but also on his profound knowledge and understanding of the creative arts of China and the West.
In Calling for a New Renaissance, Gao presents his primary concerns of the past decade or so. He indicts the lingering impact of ideology on contemporary literature and art, and for this reason calls for “a new Renaissance,” a result of which would be “boundary-crossing creations” such as the three cine-poems that he produced and describes in detail in this book. Of importance in this book, and not documented elsewhere, Gao offers his insights on how, despite receiving his education in the People’s Republic of China, he succeeded in educating himself in both Chinese and world literatures because of his love of reading and his disciplined approach to reading. Calling for a New Renaissance is a valuable resource for academic researchers, students, and general readers interested in Gao Xingjian, transcultural studies, transdisciplinary studies, and transmedia studies. Continue reading →
CFP: Asia: Challenges and Opportunities
January 20-22, 2023
The 62nd annual meeting of the Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies, “Asia: Challenges and Opportunities,” will be held January 20–22, 2023, at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia. The program committee welcomes proposals for individual, panel, or roundtable presentations. You can complete the submission form by clicking the links above. Please submit your proposals no later than October 30, 2022. All proposals will be reviewed by our 2023 program committee. Conference registration and membership fees can be paid here. Participants who register by January 15, 2023 will enjoy a discounted rate. Late registration starts from January 16, 2023, and ends on January 22, 2023. For more information, please check out the conference website.
Source: China Media Project (9/20/22) “We Must Wake Up!” The fatal crash of a quarantine transport bus in Guizhou province over the weekend has galvanized anger over China’s Covid policies. One private post from a well-known journalist yesterday was shared widely on social media before being deleted. It spoke of 1.3 billion Chinese held “in bondage” over irrational fears of contagion.
By David Bandurski
An image widely shared on China’s internet shows the quarantine transport bus in Guizhou on the night of the fatal accident, the driver in full hazmat gear.
As anger flared across Chinese social media yesterday following the deadly crash in Guizhou of a passenger bus transferring positive Covid cases, Gao Yu (高昱), the deputy executive editor and head of investigations at Caixin Media, posted a reflection on the tragedy to his WeChat friend group that was subsequently shared outside the chat.
In his post, Gao urged an end to China’s zero Covid policy, which he argued was unscientific, pursued out of unnecessary fear, and out of step with the rest of the world. “We must wake up! We must return to normalcy!” he wrote. Continue reading →
Here’s something for your reading lists as the new term starts:
Written by academic and novelist Jo McMillan, The Happiness Factory would be a refreshing addition to reading lists for courses such as Chinese women, family, gender and sexuality. And it would be of interest to scholars in any area of Chinese Studies who might want an example of how academic concerns can be explored in new, creative ways.
Mo Moore, estranged daughter of a sex-aid entrepreneur, regards her father as good as dead. And then he really does die and leaves her all his wealth. Stuck in a job in elderly care, newly single, and with nothing and no-one to keep her in England, Mo does what she’s always done when things get tough: she runs. It could have been anywhere, but a classified ad catches Mo’s eye, and it takes her to China. She lands in Pingdi, a remote mountain village that for centuries supplied dildos to the Imperial bedchamber, and whose revived sex-aid factory is in a financial fix. Soon Mo finds herself on the wrong side of the authorities and needing all the help she can get: China is a land of pointing fingers and blind eyes, of closed doors and open secrets, of rules and recklessness – a place, she discovers, where it’s not easy to be female.
The Happiness Factory is published by Bluemoose Books.
We are excited to announce that the fourth issue of the Chinese Independent Cinema Observer, has been published.
The fourth issue of the Chinese Independent Cinema Observer, ‘Anthropology, Contemporary Art, and Chinese Independent Documentaries’, seeks to explore the vibrant interchanges and interactions between cinema, art, and ethnography. As noted by the two executive editors, J.P Sniadecki and Li Xiaofeng, who are both filmmakers and scholars, independent Chinese cinema has not merely been a passive recipient of influences from anthropology and art, but has powerfully invigorated and challenged the staid orthodoxy of ethnography and the commercial excess of contemporary art.
This issue consists of mainly the contributions by seventeen filmmakers who either reflect on, or are in conversation with each other about, their unique filmmaking processes or ideas, and offers first-hand accounts from indie filmmakers within and beyond China.
To launch this issue, a roundtable discussion titled ‘Documentary, Ethnography and Contemporary Art’, involving four members of the journal editorial team—Flora Lichaa, J.P. Sniadecki, Wang Wo, and Sabrina Q. Yu—will take place at the Made in China festival in Rennes, France, on 1 October 2022.