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Cinema Off Screen: Moviegoing in Socialist China, 1949-1992
Cinema Off Screen: Moviegoing in Socialist China, 1949-1992
WhenThursday, Feb. 13, 2020, 4 – 5:30 p.m.
Campus locationAllen Library (ALB)
Campus roomAllen Auditorium
Event typesAcademics, Lectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsDepartment of Cinema and Media Studies (CMS), Dissent Images Graduate Research Cluster, and the Simpson Center for the Humanities, UW
Description

ABOUT THE TALK: Cinema takes place off screen as much as on screen. By studying how films were shown and watched in China from the founding of the People’s Republic (PRC) in 1949 to the deepening of economic reforms in the early 1990s, this talk offers a case study that helps us rethink the institutional, ideological, and cultural role of film exhibition at a time when the meaning of cinema keeps changing. The talk suggests that it was not just films, but film exhibition as a system of interfaces that was mobilized for state propaganda on one hand, and actively shaped cinematic experience on the other. In this talk, Chenshu Zhou focuses on one interface, namely, the atmosphere of open-air screenings. As a long-existing and yet overlooked paradigm in film history, open-air cinema encourages what she calls “atmospheric spectatorship” - a mode of cinematic experience characterized by embodied presence in a porous, disruptive environment, which is distinct from the dominant theatrical mode that favors sustained attention on the screen in a darkened room. In the Chinese socialist case, a mode of atmospheric spectatorship dubbed by Chinese viewers as “kan renao” complicated the state’s ideological project and urges us to consider ways of engaging with cinema beyond the familiar binary of narrative absorption and cinema of attractions.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Chenshu Zhou is a Global Perspectives on Society Teaching Fellow at NYU Shanghai. She holds a Phd from Stanford University. Her research centers on modern Chinese literature, cinema, and media with special interest in media experience in socialist and post-socialist PRC. Her book manuscript Cinema Off-Screen: Moviegoing in Socialist China, 1949-1992 is under contract with the University of California Press.

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