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Thursday, September 23, 2021

‘Spaces of Asian Cinema’

Film today has been reduced to white noise in our generation’s culture. To be said quite relatively, film is a medium that directors use in order to convey a specific message, be it educational or simply for pure artistic expression.

UC Davis comparative literature professor Sheldon Lu along with Chris Tong, a Ph.D. student in comparative literature, will join other graduate students are organizing a three-day long Asian film festival from Nov. 4 to 6.

The theme this year, “Spaces of Asian Cinema,” challenges students to look beyond current frameworks and to be conscious of space – such as film locations, architecture, built and natural environments – through cinema representation.

The film festival’s website explains that “while various modes of film analysis tend to focus on composition, narrative and production in terms of temporality and historicity, space has re-emerged as an important counterpart to and an interlinked phenomenon with time.”

The Asian film festival is split up into the film screening portion and the symposium portion. The films that will be screening are One Shining Day, 3-Iron, If You Are The One and Departures – a mix of independent, romantic comedy, horror and drama. On Thursday and Friday, the public symposium will feature professors from different universities and keynote speakers to educate attendees on selected topics centered on the theme.

“All the talks and films are related to space … when you look beyond the actors and plot, you’ll notice the settings are full of meaning,” Tong said. “These settings can be the apartment buildings in Pulse and 3-Iron or they can be the countryside in Departures and If You are the One.”

So – why this focus on Asian films, you ask?

“We wanted to attract a variety of audience members [like] people who are interested in theory within the academic community, since not everyone does Asian cinema,” Tong said. “We’re asking a lot of questions about the relationship between the screen and space. Asian cinema is just a way to find specific content for these questions.”

The festival will provide an educational as well as entertaining experience for all students.

“It’s interesting to see a foreign perspective about romantic comedy,” said Jacklyn Farrens, a sophomore English major.

“We hope to increase the multi-cultural awareness of Asia on the part of UC Davis students as well as the Davis community more broadly,” Lu said.

The film screenings, free to everyone who will attend, will be held in Olson 6. The films will be subtitled in English for accessibility.

As an aside, films rented through Blockbuster or Netflix and watched on 13″ Macbook screens don’t serve any justice to the intended aesthetic and visual consumption for which these films were originally envisioned. So take your pick and open the aperture of your knowledge on foreign films.

For more information about “Spaces of Asian Cinema,” visit langlit.ucdavis.edu/home/shlu.

KAREN SONG can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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