PRESENTER: Paola Voci (Senior lecturer, Chinese Program, University of Otago, New Zealand)
TOPIC: Chinese Portable Movies: Redefining Film Spaces and Theories
DATE: Wednesday, October 27
TIME: 4:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
LOCATION: IMU, Maple Room
In China, as elsewhere, the moving image has expanded to a multiplicity of screening experiences, filtering outside the regulated channels of both commercial and artistic practices to land— quite literally— in the hands of its makers and viewers. These portable movies are generally freely-circulating (i.e., shared rather than purchased) and almost exclusively targeting transient—online or on-phone—audiences. The implications of such a shift are wide-ranging. Via a necessarily limited analysis of Chinese portable movies, we can uncover important lines of continuity between the old cinematic experience and this new digital video development. The early cinema of attraction, the tradition of narrative cinema, and the documentary idea have relocated in screens that viewers, who have also become makers, literally own in their own hands. In this new location, the moving image has continued to hold a privileged role as both witness and interpreter of our times, just like film was “the eye” (Casetti, 2008) of the last century. Both the Chinese video activist and the auteur/amateur not only have carried cinema out of the movie theaters, but also have re-appropriated it in the private—and still relatively free from the state’s regulation or censorship—space of individually-defined and mediatically interconnected, rather than mass-mediated, subjectivities.
Paola Voci is a senior lecturer at the University of Otago. Her research focuses on Chinese cinemas and, in particular, documentary videomaking. She has published in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, Senses of Cinema, New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, and contributed to the Encyclopaedia of Chinese Cinema. Her work appears in several edited collections of essays. She has just published China on Video (Routledge, 2010), a book that analyzes movies made and viewed on smaller screens (i.e., the DV camera, the computer monitor—and, within it, the Internet window—and the cellphone display)
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