Speaker: Ying Zhu, CUNY; Hong Kong Baptist University
Discussant: Richard Peña, Professor, Columbia School of the Arts
Moderated by: Ying Qian, Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University
With introductory remarks by Jim Cheng, Director, C.V. Starr East Asian Library
The Republic and People’s Republic of China are two different eras, with the contours of the world and the international power balance drastically altered between them. Hollywood dominated China’s market during the Republican era, mesmerizing local audiences and filmmakers while Chinese cultural guardians complained about foreign influence and vulgar entertainment as domestic industry cried out for government protection. The Communist victory in 1949 eventually led to a government ban on Hollywood in 1950. The mainland market reopened to Hollywood in 1994 amidst declining domestic output and theater attendance. Hollywood brought audiences back and resuscitated the market. It also resumed its dominance. This repeat performance has revived economic, cultural and ideological concerns, but in a substantially different context. Zhu’s talk compares the context and terms of Hollywood’s Republic era (1912-1949) China triumph to those of its repeated performance in the post-1994 era and the subsequent expansion of a Chinese film market to analyze historical contingencies, continuities and changes in an ongoing Sino-Hollywood dynamic.
This event was co-sponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, the Film and Media Studies Program, Columbia's School of the Arts and The C. V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University.