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History and Culture in Chinese and Greek Film

Jing Zhang, New College of Florida and Vassiliki Rapti, Harvard University
Thursday, March 31, 2016
5:00-7:30 PM
Hussey Room Michigan League Map
5 - 5:50 PM
"Lost Child or Lost Fatherhood?: Confucian Structure of Feeling Reinterpreted in Contemporary Chinese Language Cinema"
Jing Zhang, New College of Florida
Abstract: Filial piety and the father-son relationship constitute the core of the “Confucian structure of feeling” in traditional China. While the last two decades saw a rapid economic growth and cultural globalization in China, they also witnessed a revival of traditional values, promoted through state propaganda and education, elite discourse, popular culture, and even legalization. It is in this context that I will discuss the theme of parental love in recent Chinese language films, examining it as an inversion or reinterpretation of filial sentiment pervasive in early modern Chinese literature. I will focus on two recent films of China and Hong Kong collaboration, Dearest (2014) and Lost and Love (2015), one made by the Hong Kong director Peter Chan and the other by novelist and television screenwriter Peng Sanyuan as her directorial debut. Both films base their stories in news reports of child abduction, focus on the parents’ relentless search for their lost kids, and dramatize the multilayered tension between parental relationship, morality, and law. I will also trace the motif of “looking for a lost child/father” back to the early Modern Chinese narratives and its reincarnations in several films made at critical historical moments.

6 - 6:50 PM
"In Her Own Voice: History, Memory and Female Subjectivity in Greek Cinema"
Vassiliki Rapti, Harvard University
Abstract: Within the male-dominated Greek cinema, several pioneering women directors made their appearance in the 1980s and distinguished themselves to the point that we can talk about a feminine Greek cinematic vision. This talk will focus on the distinct features of this powerful yet little known cinematic vision, and tackle female subjectivity as caught up in between History and memory. By analyzing several path-breaking films such as The Price of Love (1984) and Crystal Nights (1992) by Tonia Marketaki, Love Wanders in the Night (1981) and The Years of the Big Heat (1991) by Frieda Liappa, and Hold Me (2006) and the documentary The Aegean in the Words of Poets (2003) by Loukia Rikaki, where the personal drama is conditioned by the larger circumstances, it will show how female subjectivity is shaped by desire nurtured by memory and agency against History.

6:50 – 7:20 pm: Q and A and Discussion

April 1, 2016 Film Screenings at Angell Hall Auditorium B, 435 State Street
6 pm : Dearest (2014). 130 min. Directed by Peter Chan
8:10 pm : The Aegean in the Words of the Poets (2003). 61 min. Directed by Loukia Rikaki


Jing Zhang is Associate Professor of Chinese Language and Culture at New College of Florida. She holds a B. A. from Fudan University, a M.A. from Peking University, and a doctorate in Chinese and Comparative Literature from Washington University in St. Louis in 2007. She has taught Chinese language, classical literature, and Chinese language cinema at New College of Florida. Her research focuses on print culture, the rise of the xiaoshuo genre, ritual in literature, and literati communities in the Ming and Qing China.

Professor Vassiliki Rapti teaches Greek cinema, theatre, language and literature at Harvard University, where she is Preceptor in Modern Greek and directs the Advanced Training in Greek Poetry Translation and Performance Workshop and is the Chair of the Ludics Seminar at the Mahindra Humanities Center. She is the author of Ludics in Surrealist Theatre and Beyond (Ashgate, 2013) and of five poetry collections. Her research interests center upon cultural studies, ludic theory, literary criticism, Surrealism, 20th-century and contemporary theatre and performance, comparative literature and gender studies.

Co-hosted with the Confucius Institute at the University of Michigan
Building: Michigan League
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Chinese Studies
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Modern Greek Program