Date: 13 Sept 2016 (Tuesday)
Venue: D2-LP-09, EdUHK
Speaker: Robin S. Stewart, School of Humanities University of California, Irvine
Since its release in 2006, critical discussions of Feng Xiaogang’s The Banquet have often focused on Feng’s ambition to make a film that would be as successful internationally as his New Year’s films had been in the domestic Chinese market previously. According to this narrative, Feng’s decision to adapt Hamlet was a calculated attempt to leverage Shakespeare’s cultural capital in order to win over Western audiences. While such a cynical reading of Feng’s motives is undoubtedly correct on the surface (as the director’s own word in interviews have indicated), this talk suggests that Hamlet – with its themes of ambition, opportunity, and generational conflict – offered Feng a set of deep thematic resonances to reflect upon his own position within the changing dynamics of Chinese cinema, allowing him to explore his own personal ambitions and ambivalences as well as his ambitions for the Chinese film industry as a whole.
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