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Seeing China Through Film: The Early Years

July 14, 2021 @ 7:30 pm

The in-person screening is currently full but we have provided links below to watch the films online. RSVP to join us at the virtual discussion on July 14!

To celebrate the opening of the new, expanded China Institute, this program will explore the beginnings of Chinese cinema as the country faced social and political turmoil and war. Weaving elements from Hollywood, Soviet cinema, and traditional art, Chinese filmmakers sought to be part of the intense dialogue about the future of their nation. Three top Chinese film experts kick off our summer-long series with a wide-ranging discussion of two great films.

Each film will be screened in person at China Institute, with a virtual lecture about the film the following day. A link to view each film online is also available for viewing at home.

The Great Road, 大路, 1935
Director: Sun Yu.104 min.
Mandarin, with English subtitles.

View The Great Road online in its entirety.

Laborer’s Love, 劳工之爱情, 1922
Director: Zhang Shichuan.22 min.
Silent Film. Written Mandarin and English inter titles.

View Laborer’s Love online in its entirety.


CI Screening: Tuesday, July 13, 6:00 PM EST
To sign up to attend the in-person screening of both films on Tuesday, July 13, click here: Sold Out
The films are still available to all participants to view virtually: The Great Road, Laborer’s Love


Virtual discussion: Wednesday, July 14, 7:30 PM EST
Sign up for the virtual panel: Register



Weihong Bao is an Associate Professor of Chinese and Film Studies at the University of California, Berkley.Bao received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2006. She is the author of Fiery Cinema: The Emergence of an Affective Medium in China, 1915-1945. Her teaching and research interests cover late nineteenth century visual and performance culture, Chinese language cinema, comparative media history and theory, and the intersection between film and media. Her writings have appeared in such journals as Camera ObscuraNew German CritiqueNineteenth Century Theater and FilmOpera QuarterlyThe Journal of Chinese Cinemas, and The Journal of Modern Chinese Literature, among others. Bao serves on the editorial board for Feminist Media History and is co-editor for the “Film Theory in Media History” series published by Amsterdam University Press.

Richard Peña is a Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University, where he specializes in film theory and international cinema. From 1988 to 2012, he was the Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Director of the New York Film Festival. A frequent lecturer on film internationally, in 2014-2015 he was a Visiting Professor in Brazilian Studies at Princeton, and in 2015-2016 a Visiting Professor in Film Studies at Harvard. In May, 2016, he was the recipient of the “Cathedra Bergman” at the UNAM in Mexico City, He currently hosts WNET/Channel 13’s weekly Reel 13.

Christopher Rea is Professor of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. His latest book, Chinese Film Classics, 1922-1949, was published on June 1, 2021. In addition to the book, Rea created a series of online film resources, including chinesefilmclassics.org and a YouTube playlist of 20+ subtitled films and 22 video lectures. Rea is also the author of The Age of Irreverence: A New History of Laughter in China (2015) and co-translator of The Book of Swindles: Selections from a Late Ming Collection (Columbia, 2017). At UBC, Rea previously served as Associate Head of the Department of Asian Studies and Director of the Centre for Chinese Research.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department Of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


July 14, 2021
7:30 pm
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