A New Cinema for a New China: Films of the Seventeen Years

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Thursday, December 2, 2021
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Live via Zoom

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While the brilliance of the pre-1949 Chinese has long been celebrated, and contemporary directors have become mainstays on the festival and art house circuits, the period from 1949 through 1966--often referred to as "The Seventeen Years--has rarely been studied. Yet this period saw not only a number of fascinating films, but also contained constantly shifting debates about the form and role Chinese would take in the new socialist society. In this presentation, the trajectory of Chinese cinema during the Seventeen Years will be explored and key examples of the cinema of the period will be shown.

Richard Peña is a Professor of Film and Media Studies at Columbia University, where he specializes in film theory and international cinema.
From 1988 to 2012, he was the Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Director of the New York Film Festival. At the Film Society, Richard Peña organized retrospectives of many film artists, including Michelangelo Antonioni, Sacha Guitry, Abbas Kiarostami, King Hu, Robert Aldrich, Roberto Gavaldon, Ritwik Ghatak, Kira Muratova, Fei Mu, Zeki Demirkubuz, Youssef Chahine, Yasujiro Ozu, Carlos Saura, Nagisa Oshima and Amitabh Bachchan, as well as major film series devoted to African, Israeli, Cuban, Polish, Hungarian, Chinese, Arab, Korean, Swedish, Turkish, German, Taiwanese and Argentine cinema. In 1995, together with Unifrance, he created “Rendez-Vous with French Cinema,” the leading American showcase for new French cinema. A frequent lecturer on film internationally, in 2014-2015, he was a Visiting Professor in Brazilian Studies at Princeton, and in 2015-2016 a Visiting Professor in Film Studies at Harvard. He also taught courses at the Sorbonne, Beijing University and the University of São Paulo. In May, 2016, he was the recipient of the “Cathedra Bergman” award at the UNAM in Mexico City, where he offered a three-part lecture series “On the Margins of American Cinema.” He also currently hosts WNET/Channel 13’s weekly Reel 13.

Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies