Friday, Mar 3: 4:30-6:30pm: Panpan Yang, “The Romance of Lychee and Mirror: Teochew Opera Film and the Question of Remediation”

Please join us with the Visual and Material Perspectives on East Asia Workshop for:

Panpan Yang
PhD student, Cinema and Media Studies and
East Asian Languages and Civilizations

The Romance of Lychee and Mirror:

Teochew Opera Film and the Question of Remediation

FRIDAY, March 3, 4:30-6:30pm
Cochrane-Woods Art Center 156

In the late 1950s, as a response to China’s national opera reform movement, Teochew opera—a minor opera originating in the Teochew region in Guangdong Province, China—abolished its “all children cast” tradition and tapped into the territory of opera film. In the early 1960s, a robust body of Teochew opera films, co-produced by Hong Kong and China, attained unprecedented popularity in southern China, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia. This paper traces the fascinating but unknown history of Teochew opera film, exploring the crafting of a distinct opera film genre through melding opera with the cinematic, its translocal reception, and the question of remediation.

The emergence of Teochew opera film can be read as an intense process of remediation between cinema and opera. Is the process of remediation a tension-filled competition between different media or a two-way fertilization? Can the technique of elliptical editing be creatively used to avoid the incongruities between suppositional operatic performance and realistic film sets and props? How does Teochew opera film translate a cinematic and an operatic organization of time? Is Southeast Asian audiences’ repeated viewing of Teochew opera film secretly linked to nostalgia? These questions invite a renewed understanding of the “medium” as a concept and shed light on the making of a minor culture in an increasingly connected world.


Panpan Yang is a Ph.D. student in the joint program in Cinema and Media Studies and East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. She is interested in how cinema makes possible a mutually illuminating dialogue between Western and Chinese aesthetics. Along this line, she has been writing on some unique genres in Chinese-language cinemas, such as ink-and-wash animation, Teochew opera film, and the Wenyi genre. Her book chapter “Repositioning Excess:Romantic Melodrama’s Journey from Hollywood to China” is forthcoming in Melodrama Unbound, edited by Linda Williams and Christine Gledhill, Columbia University Press.

Judith Zeitlin (William R Kenan, Jr. Professor, EALC) will serve as discussant.

No paper will be pre-circulated.

Light refreshments will be served.

Persons who believe they may need accommodations to participate fully in this event should contact the coordinator in advance, at


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