This week we will be reading the ‘Introduction’ from Rey Chow’s Sentimental Fabulations, contemporary Chinese Films: Attachment in the Age of Global Visibility. In this piece of film criticism, Chow explores the Fifth Generation filmmakers of mainland China within the context of Western cinema. Drawing heavily on both the Taiwanese New Wave and Hong Kong Second Wave, Chow avoids the ghettoization of non-Western film industries typical to Western scholarship, while also countering Orientalisms that posit an authentic concept of Asianness underlying the images on screen. Chow suggests that there is a ‘persistence of the sentimental’ within Chinese film. This is tied to ideas of affective excess, which Chow argues are typically associated with “women’s films”, and therefore unfairly denigrated. Pushing against this idea, Chow forwards the notion that popular genres themselves can be progressive – refuting claims about the culture industry made by the Frankfurt school. For Chow, sentimentality can be treated dialectically, both as a ‘nostalgia for ancestral traditions’ while concurrently also being a ‘life enhancing escape from and disruptions of these traditions.’
If you would like access to this weeks essay, and to keep up with our future readings, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our mailing list.
For this session we have returned to our usual location of the Westmere lounge. The group will run from 3-5pm on Tuesday the 19th of November, and as ever snacks and refreshments will be provided!
We look forward to seeing you all!
Contemporary Theory Reading Group