Workshop "Research Workshop on Contemporary Chinese Art-House Cinema"

Le 07/05/2021

with Timmy Chih-Ting Chen, Hong Kong Baptist University, Wafa Ghermani, Cinémathèque française, Maja Korbecka, Freie Universität Berlin, Flora Lichaa, Université libre de Bruxelles, Ma Ran, Nagoya University, Seio Nakajima, Waseda University, Lydia Wu, Newcastle University

In collaboration with Université libre de Bruxelles (EASt), Waseda Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies (Research Group on Contemporary Chinese Independent Film) and Nagoya University (Cinema Studies Program)

This workshop focuses on Chinese art-house cinema (yishu dianying) since the reform of film industry in the 1990s. The Chinese market was then deregulated by an increase in the number of foreign films (mostly Hollywood blockbusters) distributed in film theatres. In order to become economically competitive, Chinese film studios fostered production of high-budget commercial films based on the American model and became reluctant to produce art-house films with little commercial potential. Thus, in the 2000s, only a minority of directors – such as Jia Zhangke and Wang Xiaoshuai, whose films were regularly selected and awarded at international film festivals, managed to work within the Chinese film industry. Apart from these exceptions, Chinese art-house films were produced independently outside state-funded studios and screened in independent film festivals.

Due to the independent nature of art-house cinema, researchers have mainly been interested in its aesthetic and ethical features, while overlooking its economic and industrial sides. However, this conception of Chinese art-house cinema has become less relevant in view of the ongoing developments in the Chinese market that, since the 2010s, has provided young directors with more funding opportunities. A niche market dedicated to art-house cinema has thus started to grow, drawing the attention of critics and cinephiles in China and abroad.

The individual papers presented in this workshop will take stock of these recent developments that are still under-researched. Particular attention will be given to the industrial mode of film production, exhibition, distribution, and reception. These presentations, which aim at promoting a collective reflection on contemporary Chinese art-house cinema, are intended to be published in a collective book co-edited by Flora Lichaa (Université libre de Bruxelles), Ma Ran (Nagoya University), and Seio Nakajima (Waseda University).

  • Dai, Jinhua. 2009. “Celebratory Screens: Chinese Cinema in the New Millennium.” Khoo, Olivia (ed.), Metzger, Sean (ed.). Futures of Chinese Cinema. Technologies and Temporalities in Chinese Screen Cultures. Bristol, Chicago, Intellect: 39-55.
  • Lin, Xiaoping. 2010. Children of Marx and Coca-Cola: Avant-Garde Art and Independent Cinema. Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press.
  • Yeh, Emilie Yueh-Yu, and Davis, Darell William. 2008. East Asian Screen Industries. London, British Film Institute.
  • Zhu, Ying. 2003. Chinese Cinema During the Era of Reform: The Ingenuity of the System. Westport, Praeger.

Full program

Friday 7th May 2021, 9:00am - 12:30pm CET

Online on TEAMS

For registration, please contact flora.lichaa@ulb.be