The Film Discussion Group will meet next Thursday (29 Nov), 10am, at Webster 231, The University of New South Wales.
Qiu Zitong will be giving a talk titled ‘An odyssey in searching for a parental figure: Ethnic child in three Chinese films’ – which is part of her postdoc project.
Abstract: This paper explores the historically informed figure of filmic ethnic child and the endemic relationship between ethnicity and childhood by examining three Chinese films: The Rainbow Road (wu cai lu) (Wei Rong, 1960), Guangzhou lai le ge jinxiang wa (A Uyghur Boy in Guangzhou) (Wang Jin, 1994) and Lala’s Gun (Gun Lala de qiang) (Ning Jingwu, 2009). In each film, the ethnic children leave their own land in order to search for a biological and/or a symbolicparental figure, either intentionally or unintentionally. This paper contexualizes ethnic child’s relationship with a parental figure. I suggest that unraveling the transformation of said relationship, rather than exclusively focusing on the fixed stable meaning of children as ideologically significant character types per se, may shed light on the ways in which Chinese nationhood has been mapped, remapped, and informed by different modes of dominant modernity post-1949. The importance of such attempt lies in the context of contemporary China, when ethnicity and ethnic diversity, predominantly deprived of social relations and material conditions, have become increasingly appreciated and celebrated. I hope to map out agentival trajectories through which the ethnic child somewhat effectuated political and visual emancipation, but at the same time is immediately informed/restrained by cinema’s own ideological apparatus – either as propaganda, media, art or aesthetic modernism – in the transnational context since its inception.