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Filmmaking and Activism with Cui Zi’en in Chicago

"Queer China, 'Comrade' China" (dir. Cui Zi'en)

“Queer China, ‘Comrade’ China” (dir. Cui Zi’en)

From the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago:

Please join us for three days of film screenings and discussion with three of East Asia’s leading independent filmmakers at the University of Chicago.

Venue for all film screenings: Rm 157, Cochrane Woods Art Center, 5540 S. Greenwood Ave.

Monday, April 14, 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. Featured Visiting Director: Cui Zi’en

Novelist, scholar, and Beijing Film Academy professor Cui Zi’en is a pioneering figure in China’s queer arts and social movement. A driving force behind the Beijing Queer Film Festival, Cui has made numerous fiction and documentary films on the subjects of sexual and gender identity, migrant workers, and public space. In his experimental films, literary works and political activism, Cui’s provocative portrayals of queerness open up new possibilities of community and cultural pluralism that challenge nationalism as the hegemonic discourse of identity in contemporary China.

Schedule of Events:

5:00 – 6:10 pm: Queer China, ‘Comrade’ China (China, 2009, 60 min., Mandarin with English subtitles) This documentary explores transformations in China’s LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) culture and community that have taken place in recent years. Containing interviews with dozens of activists, scholars, and artists, Queer China is an important and engaging account of China’s queer cultural history.

6:10– 6:45 pm Dinner (in the Cochrane Woods Art Center 1st Floor Lounge)

6:45 – 8:00 pm: Night Scene (China, 2003, 73 min. Mandarin with English subtitles). Blurring the distinction between documentary and fiction, this film tells the story of gay male hustlers in Beijing, a world that a college student named Yang Yang enters after discovering his father is gay. By not disclosing whether the individuals in the film are actors, real-life sex workers, or both, Night Scene challenges our understanding of representation to create a new kind of truth.

8:00 – 9:00 pm Q&A with Cui Zi’en

Tuesday, April 15, 6:00 – 9:30 p.m.

Featured Visiting Directors: Kim Il-Rhan & Hong Ji-You (of the Collective for Sexual Minority Cultures Pinks) Kim Il-Rhan and Hong Ji-You are independent documentary filmmakers in South Korea. Founding members of queer activist group Collective for Sexual Minority Cultures Pinks, Kim and Hong engage the notion of social justice not only from the position of sexual minorities, but also, more generally, from the perspectives of those who have been marginalized socially and economically. Their most recent film (Two Doors, 2011) is an active pursuit of judiciary justice and political empowerment for a group of residents violently evicted and then legally convicted for their resistance in South Korea.

6:00 – 6:45 pm Dinner (in the Cochrane Woods Art Center 1st Floor Lounge)

6:45 – 8:35 pm Two Doors (South Korea, 2012, 101 min., Korean with English subtitles). This documentary explores the Yongsan Tragedy of 2009, which took the lives of five tenants and one SWAT member during suppression of an evictee occupation in South Korea. With the directors being both filmmakers and activists, the film shows a high level of consciousness and ingenuity in employing strategies for transforming the audience from passive bystanders into active participants in the demand for social and legal justice.

8:35 – 9:30 pm Q&A session with Kim Il-Rhan and Hong Ji-You

Master Classes with the Directors Venue for both Master Classes: Rm 313, Judd Hall, 5835 S. Kimbark Ave.

Tuesday, April 15, 3:30 – 5:30 pm. Queer China: The Cinematic and Social Practices of Cui Zi’en.

In this Master Class, Cui Zi’en will lead us in a discussion about queer cinema and cultural activism in contemporary China.

Wednesday, April 16, 4:00 – 6:00 pm.  Rethinking Documentary and Spectatorship with Kim Il-Rhan and Hong Ji-You. In this Master Class, Kim Il-Rhan and Hong Ji-You will lead us in a discussion about spectatorship and social engagement as it relates to documentary film in South Korea.


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