How does Tibet appear in films from the People’s Republic of China today? Although Tibet has been a popular topic in the cinema of the People’s Republic since the “peaceful liberation” by the People’s Liberation Army in 1951, most of the films made then depicted Tibet as backward and did not inspire admiration for Tibet among the larger Chinese population. However, in the new century, there has been a “fever” for all things Tibetan in China, from Tibetan Buddhism to Tibetan rap singers. The first Tibetan feature filmmakers have also appeared, working inside China. However, this talk will focus on the less well-known phenomenon of feature films about Tibet made by non-Tibetan filmmakers, most of whom are Han Chinese. Different cycles of films about Tibet will the identified, and the talk will ask whether these films still “other” Tibet at the same time as their celebrate the culture and enthuse about the landscapes.
Chris Berry is Professor of Film Studies at King’s College London. In the 1980s, he worked for China Film Import and Export Corporation in Beijing, and his academic research is grounded in work on Chinese-language cinemas and other Chinese-language screen-based media, as well as work from neighboring countries. Publications include: Cinema and the National: China on Screen (2006); Postsocialist Cinema in Post-Mao China: the Cultural Revolution after the Cultural Revolution (2004);Chinese Film Festivals: Sites of Translation (2017); Routledge Handbook of East Asian Popular Culture (2016); Public Space, Media Space (2013); Chinese Cinema, 4 vols, (2012); The New Chinese Documentary Film Movement: For the Public Record (2010); Electronic Elsewheres: Media, Technology, and Social Space (2010); Cultural Studies and Cultural Industries in Northeast Asia: What a Difference a Region Makes (2009); TV China (2008); Chinese Films in Focus II (2008); and Island on the Edge: Taiwan New Cinema and After (2005).
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