Friday, June 3, 3-5 p.m. in CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St)
Anne Rebull, “Locating Theatricality on Screen: Performance Practice and Xiqu Film in the Changing Tides of Reform”
Anne Rebull will present a work-in-progress version of one of her dissertation chapters. If short on time, she asks that readers concentrate on the second half of the file, starting from page 24. Anne summarizes the chapter as follows:
In this chapter, I ask what role, if any, opera film played in influencing the outcomes of the Opera Reform Movement. In the mid-50s, the theater world was forced to take a serious look at its objectives and progress when it became apparent that the restrictions on the repertoire–meaning both the canon of plays and the embodied knowledge of how to perform them–were causing audiences to abandon traditional theater. The contours of this reassessment can be traced through the re-evaluation of traditional performance practice, or theatrical gesture, in high level governmental critiques between 1954 and 1956. In those same years, opera film directors were engaging in debates that asked should there be a genre of opera film? And how should such a genre render an expressionistic art in a realist medium? How should theatricality and especially theatrical gesture be used in film? These questions and the crisis in the theater world all came to a head in 1956, unfolding right along with the smash hit kunqu production Fifteen Strings of Copper. Using this play and its film adaptation as a springboard, I explore the connection between opera film and the fate of theatrical gesture in opera reform.
A draft of Anne’s chapter is available at this link. If you have not received the password for the post, or if you have concerns about accessibility, please feel free to contact David Krolikoski at davidkroli at uchicago.edu or Brian White at bmwhite at uchicago.edu.
Professor CHEON Jung-Hwan has taught modern Korean literature and culture at Sungkyunkwan University since 2006. He is the author of Reading Books in Modern Times: The Birth of Readers and Modern Korean Literature (2003), one of the most influential South Korean literary and cultural studies monographs of the 2000s. His recent book publications include 1970s Modernism: From Yusin to Sunday Seoul (coauthored, 2015), On Suicide: Between Suffering and Knowledge (2013), Questioning/Burying 1960, The Era of Mass Intellect (2008), and Revolution and Laughs: The April 19 Revolution in Kim Sŭng-ok’s Cartoon Mr. Pagoda (2005), among others. English translations of his articles have appeared in the Journal of East Asian History and The Korean Popular Culture Reader.
Professor SEO Jaekil received his Ph.D. degree from the Seoul National University in 2007 with a study on the radio and literature of colonial Korea. Having worked as a researcher in Tokyo Foreign Language University and as a research professor at Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (SNU), he is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Korean Language and Literature at Kookmin University. His research interests range widely from colonial Korea to Manchuria, covering the topics of literature, radio, film, and musical theater. His publications include recent English-language articles on the broadcasting of colonial Korea and wartime films. He also translated monographs by Yoshimu Shunya and Kuroda Isamu, respectively about the university and the birth of radio gymnastics, into Korean.
Friday, May 20, 3-5 p.m. in CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St)
William Feeney, “Smiles and Scars”
William Feeney will present a work-in-progress version of one of his dissertation chapters. He summarizes the chapter as follows.
‘Smiles and Scars’ considers the potential for complaints about television to link comedic vulgarity with ijime (bullying) in schools. Ijime emerged as a serious social concern in Japan in the 1980’s and since that time comedy and variety television has been periodically identified as a source of problematic vulgar contagion. This paper opens by exploring oft cited features of ijime before turning to the communicative norms, ideological grounds and social anxieties that render links with comedy television plausible. I argue that inherent difficulty of distinguishing alienating ijime from inclusive teasing among intimates stand as a principle loci of concern that can be tapped to effectively formulate and circulate such links.
A draft of William’s chapter is available at this link. If you have not received the password for the post, or if you have concerns about accessibility, please feel free to contact David Krolikoski at davidkroli at uchicago.edu or Brian White at bmwhite at uchicago.edu.
Friday, May 6, 2-4 p.m. in CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St)
Junko Yamazaki, “Reorienting Jidaigeki: Matsumoto Toshio’s Shura (1971)”
Junko Yamazaki, a PhD candidate in Cinema and Media Studies and East Asian Languages and Civilizations will present a work-in-progress version of one of her dissertation chapters. She summarizes the chapter as follows. The workshop will begin and end an hour earlier than normal to accommodate other talks later in the day.
Once hailed as one of the most important and beautiful films made in Japan since Kurosawa’s prime by film critic Noël Burch, experimental filmmaker, video artist Matusmoto Toshio’s “dark” film Shura (1971) has remained relatively unknown compared to its more playful and lively “white” counterpart, Funeral Parade of Roses (1969). Shot entirely in black-and-white—except for the opening shot—Shura casts its drama on the verge of pitch blackness and invisibility. By offering a genealogy of the relationship between jidaigeki and Japanese avant-garde practices of the 1960s, this chapter challenges the view of the film as Matsumoto’s “turn” from politically engaged avant-garde film to politically disengaged, if not reactionary, jidaigeki (period) film. I argue that Shura’s anachronism is better understood as a hermeneutic challenge than as a political or aesthetic compromise. I will highlight Shura’s engagement with the “modern present” through a discussion of Matsumoto’s conception of spectatorship, and of his interpretation of the kabuki play on which the film is based: Tsuruya Nanboku’s recently revived The Lover’s Pledge. On the formal register, I will highlight Matsumoto’s preference for destabilization over the rejection of narrative as an avant-garde filmmaking strategy, and analyze his deliberate play on spectatorship through the constant reconfiguration of the viewer’s assigned position and orientation within the spatial coordinates of the image. This will enable us to see that Shura is a sophisticated effort to confront the spectator to her hermeneutical situation rather than a reactionary recoil into the “premodern past.”
A draft of Junko’s chapter will be available soon. If you have not received the password for the post, or if you have concerns about accessibility, please feel free to contact David Krolikoski at davidkroli at uchicago.edu or Brian White at bmwhite at uchicago.edu.