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Scenes of Song: Chinese Cinema's Transition to Sound

Scene from Chinese film
Date and Time: 
Friday, May 22, 2015. 04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Stanford Humanities Center, Board Room
Workshop: 
The Material Imagination: Sound, Space, and Human Consciousness
Meeting Description: 

This presentation discusses the relationship between songs and films in the context of Republican era China. Amidst the fractured landscape of filmmaking before the standardized sound picture, a strand of consistency can be discerned in the tendency to acoustically spotlight the singing voice. Jean Ma approaches the predominance of film songs as a starting point for rethinking the transition from silent to sound filmmaking.

About the speaker:

Jean Ma is Associate Professor of Art and Art History, teaching in the Film and Media Studies program and is Director of Graduate Studies for Art History. She has recently taught courses on Chinese cinema, film sound, histories and theories of technological media, visual culture, and horror films. She is the author of Melancholy Drift: Marking Time in Chinese Cinema (Hong Kong University Press, 2010), and coeditor of Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography (Duke University Press, 2008) and “Sound and Music,” a special issue of the Journal of Chinese Cinemas. Her work has appeared in Grey Room, Post Script, Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Camera Obscura, Criticism. Her newest book is Sounding the Modern Woman: The Songstress in Chinese Cinema, forthcoming in 2015.

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