March. 3, Panpan Yang

Friday, March.3, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

The Romance of Lychee and Mirror: Teochew Opera Film and the Question of Remediation

Panpan Yang

Ph.D. Student, Department of Cinema and Media Studies & Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

Judith Zeitlin (William R Kenan, Jr. Professor, East Asian Languages & Civilizations) will serve as discussant.

The Romance of Lychee and Mirror (荔鏡記/陳三五娘, dir. Zhu Shilin, 1962)


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.

Friday, March.3, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact Yunfei Shao( or Zhiyan Yang (


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