Film Stars in the Perspective of Performance Studies: Play, Liminality, and Alteration in Chinese Cinema

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Lecture by Yingjin Zhang, University of California, San Diego

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Bunche Hall 11377 

Star studies approach film stars as “structured polysemy” and anticipate a salient system of meaning for us to decode and appreciate. Performance theory treats meaning as “conjunctural” rather than “structured” and privileges coincident, improvisation and juxtaposition. Approaching star studies through performance theory helps explore a wealth of filmic techniques and performance tactics. This article focuses on Tony Leung Chiu-Wai’s “self-effacing” performance as repetition and examines special cases of play and liminality as well as presence and absence in Chinese cinema. These cases challenge our conventional habit of thought and cognition and reveal an unlimited potential of alternative and alteration vis-à-vis history and reality.


Yingjin Zhang is Professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at University of California, San Diego. His English books include The City in Modern Chinese Literature and Film (1996), Encyclopedia of Chinese Film (1998), China in a Polycentric World (1998),Cinema and Urban Culture in Shanghai (1999), Screening China (2002), Chinese National Cinema (2004), From Underground to Independent (2006), Cinema, Space, and Polylocality in a Globalizing China (2010), Chinese Film Stars (2010), A Companion to Chinese Cinema (2012), and Liangyou, Kaleidoscopic Modernity and the Shanghai Global Metropolis (2013).

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Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2014