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Jean Ma: "Scenes of Song: Chinese Cinema's Transition to Sound"

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. I approach the predominance of film songs as a starting point for rethinking the transition from silent to sound filmmaking.
Jean Ma teaches in 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 RoomPost ScriptJournal of Chinese CinemasCamera Obscura, Criticism. Her newest book is Sounding the Modern Woman: The Songstress in Chinese Cinema, forthcoming in 2015.



Friday, May 22, 2015. 04:00 PM


Humanities Center Board Room


Department of Music, Material Imagination, Humanities Center, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Department of Art & Art History, Department of English