“When the Left Eye Meets the Right Ear: Cinematic Fantasia and Comic Soundscape in City Scenes (1935) and 1930s Chinese Leftwing Music”

When 30 Jan 2020
7:30PM - 9:30PM
Where The Faculty House at Columbia University
Morningside Drive at 116th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
Enquiry 212-854-1200

Thursday, January 30th, 7:30-9:30PM at Faculty House

Speaker: Ling Zhang
Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies, SUNY Purchase

When the Left Eye Meets the Right Ear: Cinematic Fantasia and Comic Soundscape in City Scenes (1935) and 1930s Chinese Leftwing Music”

This book chapter focuses on the reinvention of Hollywood and Soviet inspirations through sound technology, aesthetics, socio-political connotations, and genre hybridity in 1930s Chinese films, particularly Yuan Muzhi’s musical comedies City Scenes (1935) and Street Angel (1937). I investigate how concealment of conventional boundaries between speech, sound effects (Mickey Mousing), and music (fantasia and Wagnerian leitmotifs) articulates an “auditory grotesque” that allows leftist urban comedies to expressively deploy an extravagant cinematic soundscape, thereby enhancing their satirical social critique and unruly energy. Such comic and tumultuous cinematic soundscapes correspond to popular sound culture in the modern cityscape of semi-colonial Shanghai. As a means of remaking “new music” and the “new musical ear” in China, vernacular and mass songs afforded new spaces for fostering social solidarity under the banner of a nationalist spirit and for generating the potential for mass mobilization.

Respondent: Jane Gaines, Professor of Film and Media Studies, Columbia University

If you would like to attend the dinner before the meeting from 6:30 to 7:30pm at the Faculty House dining hall, please RSVP by Monday, January 27th to rapporteur (Spandita Behera) at sb4308@columbia.edu. Dinner is $30.00, payable by cheque only. Cheque payments for the dinner will be collected and recorded by the rapporteur on the evening of the dinner.  If you have any special dietary needs, please indicate those to the rapporteur also. Please be advised the Reservation Policy of the Faculty House has changed and we will be charged for any cancelled meals.

Image courtesy of the event organizer.