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Massy Reads / On Interdisciplinary Approaches to Film

March 1 @ 6:00 pm 7:30 pm PST

Tuesday, March 1st at 6pm, join Massy Books, Massy Arts and UBC’s Public Humanities Hub for the virtual event “Massy Reads / On Interdisciplinary Approaches to Film”, a conversation between authors Kyle Frackman, Ervin Malakaj, and Christopher Rea.

In this book launch series, moderator Colleen Laird will establish a dialogue between three new releases on film studies: Coming Out by Dr. Kyle Frackman from Central, Eastern & Northern European Studies (2022, Camden House); “Slapstick: An Interdisciplinary Companion” edited by Dr. Ervin Malakaj from Central, Eastern & Northern European Studies (2021, De Gruyter); and “Chinese Film Classics, 1922–1949” by Dr. Christopher Rea from Asian Studies (2021, Columbia University Press).

Click here to register for the event

Click here to purchase Coming Out

Click here to purchase Slapstick

Click here to purchase Chinese Film Classics, 1922-1949

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The Books

Coming Out / It took forty years for East Germany’s state-run studios, DEFA, to produce a feature film about homosexuality:Coming Out. The film’s story seems radically ordinary today: a young teacher, Philipp, is gay but cannot accept the truth about his sexuality. He starts a relationship with a fellow teacher, Tanja, but falls in love with a man he meets, Matthias, whose confidence in his own self-understanding is alluring for him as well as a challenge. Acclaimed director Heiner Carow created a film that shows the difficulties, both internalized and external, that queer people faced in East Germany. In a quirk of history,Coming Outpremiered in German theaters on November 9, 1989, the very night on which the Berlin Wall was opened, which meant the film was initially overshadowed, to say the least, by the earthshaking political events. Yet it remains a popular film and is regularly screened around the world, including prominently at queer film festivals. Kyle Frackman’s book examines the film in both the late East German context of its creation and the international context of its reception.

Slapstick – An Interdisciplinary Companion / Despite its unabated popularity with audiences, slapstick has received rather little scholarly attention, mostly by scholars concentrating on the US theater and cinema traditions. Nonetheless, as a form of physical humor slapstick has a long history across various areas of cultural production. This volume approaches slapstick both as a genre of situational physical comedy and as a mode of communicating an affective situation captured in various cultural products. Contributors to the volume examine cinematic, literary, dramatic, musical, and photographic texts and performances. From medieval chivalric romance and nineteenth-century theater to contemporary photography, the contributors study treatments of slapstick across media, periods and geographic locations. The aim of a study of such wide scope is to demonstrate how slapstick emerged from a variety of complex interactions among different traditions and by extension, to illustrate that slapstick can be highly productive for interdisciplinary research.

Chinese Film Classics, 1922–1949 / An essential guide to the first golden age of Chinese cinema. Offering detailed introductions to fourteen films, this study highlights the creative achievements of Chinese filmmakers in the decades leading up to 1949, when the Communists won the civil war and began nationalizing cultural industries. Christopher Rea reveals the uniqueness and complexity of Republican China’s cinematic masterworks, from the comedies and melodramas of the silent era to the talkies and musicals of the 1930s and 1940s. Each chapter appraises the artistry of a single film, highlighting its outstanding formal elements, from cinematography to editing to sound design. Examples include the slapstick gags of Laborer’s Love (1922), Ruan Lingyu’s star turn in Goddess (1934), Zhou Xuan’s mesmerizing performance in Street Angels (1937), Eileen Chang’s urbane comedy of manners Long Live the Missus! (1947), the wartime epic Spring River Flows East (1947), and Fei Mu’s acclaimed work of cinematic lyricism, Spring in a Small Town (1948). Rea shares new insights and archival discoveries about famous films, while explaining their significance in relation to politics, society, and global cinema. Lavishly illustrated and featuring extensive guides to further viewings and readings, Chinese Film Classics, 1922–1949 offers an accessible tour of China’s early contributions to the cinematic arts.

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