Mary Pickford’s Chinese Fans: The Emergence of a Cosmopolitan Entertainment Culture in 1920s Shanghai
A talk by NICOLAI VOLLAND (National University of Singapore)
Thursday, April 07, 20114:30 PM - 6:00 PM
11377 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Studies investigating the emergence of cinema in China have ge nerally focused on “Chinese” films and film culture since the 1920s. What is often overlooked, however, is that Shanghai and other urban centers had developed a thriving community of film fans, who excitedly followed the latest Hollywood productions, years before domestically produced films gained in popularity. This presentation attempts a survey of Chinese movie magazines from the early and mid 1920s, asking for the sources that inspired early Chinese discussions on cinema, they ways in which Chinese audiences appropriated and re-contextualized these foreign films, and how this transnational milieu of fandom contributed to the subsequent growth of a cosmopolitan Chinese cinema. I will argue that Hollywood and its fan culture were adapted and integrated into a larger realm of popular entertainment culture in China, providing a fertile ground cum backdrop on and against which locally produced cinema eventually could take hold.
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Nicolai Volland is Assistant Professor at the National University of Singapore, where he teaches in the Department of Chinese Studies. His research interests include China’s transnational cultural engagement in the twentieth century as well as publishing, media, and print culture. His has edited (with Christopher Rea), Comic Visions of Modern China (MCLC special issue, 2008).