Yuqian Yan


Friday, November 18, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in CEAS 319 (1155 E. 60th St)

Yuqian Yan, “From History Films to Ancient Costume Films: Representations of the Chinese Past in the Late 1920s”

Discussant: Pao-Chen Tang (EALC/Cinema and Media Studies)

Please join us this Friday to welcome Yuqian Yan, a PhD candidate in EALC/Cinema and Media Studies. Yuqian will present a draft of the first chapter of her dissertation. She summarizes the chapter as follows:

This chapter focuses on the first wave of Chinese ancient costume films (古装片) that started roughly around 1926 and died out in the early 1930s. The genre of ancient costume films was largely under discussed in Chinese film history. It was either dismissed as a countercurrent in modern time or a profit-driven practice that catered to the low taste of petit urbanities. Reexamining the genre through film advertisements, critical discussions and its relation to theater, this chapter argues that the concerns in why and how to make ancient costume films were shaped by the very condition of modernity at the time. It reflected a strong epistemological rupture between past and present, but also demonstrated the instability of such separation in reality. The desire to represent the ancient in cinema should not simply be seen as a retreat to the past, but reflected the filmmakers’ enthusiasm for the potential of the new cinematic media in providing an unprecedented experience of the past. It was treated, at least initially, as a chance to advance the Chinese film industry in a global scope.

The paper 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 Alex Murphy at murphya1@uchicago.edu.




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