"Women's Cinema in Afghanistan, Bhutan and Myanmar Today"

CISA Speaker Series

Monday, April 12, 2021

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM (Pacific Time)

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Shifting the focus away from the dominant cinema formation in South Asia - from so-called ‘Bollywood’- this webinar examines the work of women making films today in Afghanistan, Bhutan and Myanmar. Across South Asia, perhaps more visibly than in the Global North, the political economy of redistribution and the cultural politics of recognition of identities are inextricably intertwined. Gender, caste and class, ethnicity, language, religion and sexuality have been central to the discursive and material construction of the nation-state. How do women operating at the margins of the global and regional film industries navigate these force-fields?

The cinema that has emerged in recent years in Myanmar, Afghanistan and Bhutan is more than just a cluster of ‘films by women’. It is a ‘women’s cinema’, understood as a cinema that, not at home in the national discourses it has to inhabits, conjures up, through its gender-inflected mode, radical popular experiences. The films that result from these experiences mediate dynamics that are very diverse and nationally specific. In Bhutan the environment for filmmaking is embryonic but supportive and apparently liberal. In Afghanistan and Myanmar cinema is older but sits on very precarious ground, industrially and politically. And yet women’s cinema there seems stronger. Examining specific cases from each country and screening short extract of films, professor Vitali considers the different strategies that women have adopted and developed in these countries to make and circulate their films.



Dr. Valentina Vitali is Professor of Film Studies at the University of East London, director of the Moving Image Research Centre (UEL), and independent film programmer. She has taught film history and theory for over twenty years and her research explores, from a comparative perspective, the relation between history, economics and film aesthetics. Prof. Vitali has published on South and East Asian cinemas, on the relation between cinema and nation, on image-based work by women, and on aspects of Indian visual cultural production. Her publications include Capital and Popular Cinema: the Dollars Are Coming! (Manchester University Press, 2016), Hindi Action Cinema: Industries, Narratives, Bodies (Oxford University Press and Indiana University Press, 2008), and Theorising National Cinema (British Film Institute, 2006, co-edited with Paul Willemen). She has curated, among other events, Contemporary Women Filmmakers in South Asia (FACT, Liverpool, 2019), The Writerly (Close-Up, London, 2017), and the retrospective Alia Syed (Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2017). For more information, visit https://www.uel.ac.uk/staff/v/valentina-vitali.






In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, UCLA will honor requests for reasonable accommodations made by individuals with disabilities.
Requests can be fulfilled more effectively if notice is provided at least 10 days before the event.
Direct accommodation requests to jvillegas@international.ucla.edu.


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Download file: Valentina-Vitali-nx-stm.pdf

Sponsor(s): Center for India and South Asia

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