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Public Lecture: “Taiwanese-Language Films (Taiyupian): An Alternative Cinema of Poverty?” By Professor Chris Berry

Public Lecture: “Taiwanese-Language Films (Taiyupian): An Alternative Cinema of Poverty?”

Date: 26th March 2018 (Mon)

Time: 12:30 – 14:00

Venue: D2-LP-05, Tai Po Campus, EdUHK




The cycle of over 1,000 low-budget, Taiwanese-language films made between the mid-1950s and early 1970s was neglected and forgotten for many years. By the time people became interested in reclaiming them as Taiwan’s heritage, only 200-plus survived. One reason for their low regard has been their low production quality. In this paper, I propose approaching Taiwanese-language films as an alternative “cinema of poverty.” Recently, Song Hwee Lim has adapted Jerzy Grotowski’s idea of a “theatre of poverty” to analyse Midi Zi’s films. But where Lim and Grotowski see poverty as encouraging a high modernist stripping down to the essentials of the medium, Taiwanese-language cinema is another kind of cinema of poverty. It is characterised by the adoption of methods designed to maximise audience appeal in the shortest production time possible and at a low budget. These methods include sensational plot twists, emotive acting, and an exuberant practice of what Lu Xun in the 1930s called “grabbism” (拿来主义) – borrowing music, plot and anything else that works from overseas to create a locally distinctive bricolage.




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).


All are welcome and no registration is required. Please send any enquiries to Mr. Manni Cheung at 2948 7360 or via email

(Cancellation) “From Journey to the West on the way to Another World (is possible)” by Professor Chen Kuan-Hsing
[Event Cancelled]

We regret to inform you that the following seminar has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. Please accept our apologies.

Date : 9 March 2018 (Friday)
Time : 3:30pm – 5:30pm
Venue : B3-LP-05, Tai Po Campus
Medium : English


Since the 19th Century, our modes of thought and knowledge, in Africa, Asia and Latin America, have been shaped by imperial and colonial encounters. For critical intellectuals in particular, the historical sources of thought (practices, institutions, worldviews/cosmologies, etc) have become untouchable. The desire to be “modern” has generated self-hatred, made us look down on our own peasant-centered family/clan histories and popular faith, as if these were superstitions to be abandoned and relegated into the garbage can of history. However, at the present conjuncture of global transformations, as Marx would have it, the ghosts have begun to resurface, becoming twilights of hope guiding us on our path of uncertainties. This presentation attempts to reclaim the past as systems of reference via “personal” trajectories of re/discovering ancestral stories contiguous with world history. Tang Sanzang 唐三藏 (602-664; Xuanzang 玄奘 or Chen Hui 陳禕), the main protagonist of Journey to the West 《西遊記》, who, according to Prof. Tan Chung 譚中, invented the term “India” and the term “China” was coined by an Indian monk, has turned out to be my ancestor. What I have done in the past 30 years or so is merely an extension of what he had decisively opened up. This “re/turn” is not a nostalgia (which is also legitimate) but a possibility to reground ourselves to imagine that “another world is possible.” This is one of the leftover tasks of intellectual work today.


Professor Chen is the founding chair of Taiwan’s Cultural Studies Association and founding member of the Association for Cultural Studies and Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society (and its Consortium). He is a core member of the Taiwan: A Radical Quarterly in Social Studies, he has been a co-editor of the journal, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies: Movements (2000-) and Renjian Thought Review (mandarin Chinese; 2010-). A writer, editor, reporter, cultural organizer, curator, karaoke singer, and iPhone photographer, he is a Tibetan Buddhist.


All are welcome to join the seminar and no registration is required. Should you have any enquiries, please feel free to contact Mr. Manni Cheung at 2948 7360 or via email For other information regarding Professor Chen’s visit at EdUHK during 6 – 10 March 2018, please contact Ms. Emily Mang at 2948 6142 or via email


We look forward to seeing you there!

Conversation with Serrini: “Kong Girl, Everyday Life and Creative Processes”

An independent local singer-songwriter, Serrini will talk about her own sentimental “self-writing” process from a creator’s perspective. She will also analyze her Cantopop writing in relation to the perception of the zeitgeist spirit(s) of Hong Kong. Serrini is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Hong Kong, where she also serves as the tutor for the course “Introduction to Cantopop lyrics.” Her academic background is always in conversation with her “artist” endeavor.


Date : 1 March 2018 (Thursday)
Time : 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Venue : D2-LP-09, Tai Po Campus
Medium : English supplemented with Cantonese

All are welcome and no registration is required. Seats are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Film Salons curated by students: Women’s revenge series

Film Salons curated by students: Women’s revenge series

Dates: 29/1, 5/2, 6/2, 12/2
Time: 18:00 – 21:00
Language: (film) Japanese/Korean/Cantonese with English subtitles; (post-screening discussion) Bilingual



In this semester, we again look for fellow movie lovers at EdUHK, who enjoy viewing and analyzing films, and would like to help this platform grow. This semester’s programme will cover 4 films on the topic “Women’s Revenge,” starting from 29/1 (Monday) with Sympathy For Lady Vengeance by Korean director Park Chan-wook. In February, we will screen three more films on the same topic with the schedule listed below:

這是由學生所策劃的電影沙龍,現邀請教大電影愛好者與我們一起欣賞和分析電影。今個學期我們將以「女性復仇」為題播放四套電影。我們將首先於1 月29日(星期一)放映由韓國導演朴贊郁所執導的《親切的金子》,而2 月之片單則詳列如下。

About Women’s Revenge

Throughout cinematic history, plenty of men have tried their hands at turning the tides with a swift kick of vengeance — but they weren’t alone. Movies aren’t always blind when it comes to gender, and men tend to get an unfair advantage, especially when it comes to being the aggressive protagonists. However, the playing field is starting to even out. Slowly but surely, women are bringing balance to the Force, so to speak.

Some women in film have had no trouble taking matters into their own hands, gladly getting those hands dirty in the process. They were wronged, so they stepped up. They were pushed, so they pushed back. They proved in their respective roles that there isn’t a weaker sex, only certain men who overestimate their power. These women fix that problem head-on. With aggressive cleverness and the element of surprise in their arsenal, they stood up, they fought back, and they turned the tide once and for all.

All sessions are intended for purposes of giving or receiving instruction through film analysis and commentary among students and teachers.

Seminar: How to Reimagine Bollywood by Prof. Ashish Rajadhyaksha

Seminar: How to Reimagine Bollywood by Prof. Ashish Rajadhyaksha

Dates: 4th December 2017
Time: 15:30 – 17:00
Venue: D2-LP-12
Language: English



How to Reimagine Bollywood

Bollywood has produced numerous conundrums: as a kind of copycat version of a Hollywood original, it has been a source of some irritation to Indian filmmakers. As a new kind of cultural economy, including fashion, tourism, food and investment destinations, Bollywood has been a brand ambassador for numerous industries: but in the process, it has also become far removed from, and far in excess of, the cinema. Bollywood is presented at its most complex when it is widely seen, as with Aamir Khan’s recent successes in China, as the soft power arm of India, except that the Indian state has no control over it, and no capacity to leverage its global reach. Most corporate interests in the entertainment sector trying to ride on Bollywood’s success have also had a hard time converting an obvious interest in all things Indian into a stable market for a new economy. This presentation tracks the origins and key uses of the concept, and also the consequences of the Bollywood conundrum: is it an industry in its own right, or merely a refraction of other industries in India and elsewhere? Does it have economic existence or is it a countercultural chimera, to be consumed on the margins of the world’s creative industries?


Ashish Rajadhyaksha is a noted cultural theorist and film scholar. He is currently Professor of Practice in the Department of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University. He has written and published widely in the area of Indian cinema, India’s cultural policy, and on the visual arts. He is the co-editor (with Paul Willemen) of the Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema (published in 1999 and 2001 by the British Film Institute). His books include The Last Cultural Mile: An Inquiry into Technology and Governance in India (2011) and Indian Cinema in the Time of Celluloid: From Bollywood to the Emergency (2009). He has curated a number of film and art events, including (with Geeta Kapur) Bombay/Mumbai 1991-2001 for the exhibition Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis (2002) and You Don’t Belong (China/Hong Kong, 2012/13).