• To download a .pdf file of the program, click: program
  • To download a .doc file of the program, click: program

Film adaptations of regional operas were among the most popular genres in China from the 1950s to the 1970s. By examining Chinese opera films from various disciplinary approaches, our two-day symposium aims to expand our understanding of the genre and rethink the interactions of Chinese cinema and theatre in a historical and comparative perspective.

The program consists of thirteen papers delivered by faculty, graduate students, and visiting scholars at the University of Chicago and from eight other US, Asian and European institutions. Topics will include the rendition of magic and supernatural events, the tensions between stage and cinematic performance, music and voice, the politics of adaptations and remakes, viewing and listening practices, and the relationship between opera film, painting, and printed media.

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Friday, April 17 at 7:30pm

Chasing the Fish Spirit (Zhui yu)

Directed by Ying Yunwei, 1959, 35mm, 106 minutes, Chinese with English Subtitles

Saturday, April 18 at 7:30pm

Third Sister Yóu (You Sanjie)

Directed by Wu Yonggang, 1963, 35mm, 155 min, Chinese with English Subtitles

All events are free and open to the public.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

8:30am Breakfast


panel i: the magic stage on screen

Weihong Bao, Mise-en-scene and the Subjunctive Body of Opera Film

Judith Zeitlin, The Theatrical Supernatural and the Cinematic Fantastic in 1950’s PRC Opera Films

Discussant: Tom Gunning

10:45-11:00am Break


panel ii. operatic and cinematic performance

Xinyu Dong, Why The Peony Pavilion? Mei Lanfang’s Last Opera Film

Peng Xu, Virtuosity Or Virtue? The ‘New’ Style of Performance in the Opera Film Third Sister Yóu

Discussant: Yuri Tsivian

12:45-2pm Lunch


panel iii. politics of remakes and remodels

Kwok-wai Hui, Traditional Culture, Romantic Love and Revolution: A Study of the Yueju Film Liang Shanbo yu Zhu Yingtai

Xiangyang Chen, Woman and the Vernacular in Huangmei Opera Film

Kristine Harris, Re-makes/Re-models: The Red Detachment of Women between Stage and Screen

Discussant: Wenchi Lin

7:30pm Screening

Saturday, April 18, 2009

8:30am Breakfast


panel iv. soundscapes

Barbara Mittler, Between Censorship and Propaganda: The Cultural Experience of Cultural Revolution China

Nicole Huang, Azalea Mountain and the Soundscape of Late Mao Culture

Discussant: Paola Iovene

10:45-11am Break


panel v. picture, page, and screen

Ling Zhang, Spatial Depth and Pictorial Flatness in Two Filmic Versions of Kun Opera The Peony Pavilion

Ling Hon Lam, Reading off the Screen: Turning the Virtual Page of Chinese Opera Film

Discussant: Michael Raine

12:45-2:00pm Lunch


panel vi. narrative conventions and revolutionary passions

Xiaomei Chen, Three Traitors’ Tales in Opera Films: Re-reading the “Red Classics” in Daughter of the Party, Hong Xia and Jiang Jie

Jason McGrath, Cultural Revolution Model Opera Films and the Realist Tradition in Chinese Cinema

Discussant: David Levin

7:30pm Screening