Film and lecture series to present China’s history and rise to global economic power

Associate history professor Anthony Clark will host a four-part film and lecture series, titled “China in Transition,” offering an opportunity to learn about the history of one of the world’s superpowers. The series will explore China’s rise to power in modern society. China was originally a much more underprivileged society than it is today. The first film in the series looks at the way Western values first began to clash with Chinese traditions, Clark said.

“The first film begins with 1930s Shanghai when issues of gender, class and national identity were being challenged by Western values,” Clark said.

Women had little to no rights in earlier times until modern reformation took place, Clark said. Women thus suffered much criticism from others if they made any kind of mishap.

“The Goddess” details the story of a Chinese prostitute and her struggle to raise a son in a judgmental society. Released in 1934, it is a silent film and one of the most well-known from China’s cinematic golden age.

China’s current economic standing makes it important for people to understand its culture, Clark said in a press release. Each of the films shows a different perspective on Chinese culture.

With the film series, Clark aims to make students better informed about China’s roots and its present status as an economic power, Clark said.

“There is a certain amount of angst in these films,” Clark said. “But we hope that the hard-hitting nature of these movies will inspire a deeper engagement with China’s present reality on the global landscape.”

The lecture consists of four parts, with the three subsequent installments showing the films “Family,” “Devils on the Doorstep” and “Blind Mountain.”

Each of the films focuses on a particular reformative issue, such as China’s oppressive patriarchal society, Japanese occupation of China and female abduction and forced marriage.

The film and lecture series should be both entertaining and informative, Clark said.

“I also expect that Whitworth students, faculty and staff will be astonished by China’s remarkable cinematography,” Clark said. “Its rich cultural heritage as expressed through the four directors we have selected.”

A few of the selected film directors also have many awards and nominations in the past. Wen Jiang, director of “Devils on the Doorstep,” was nominated and won many awards outside of the realm of Asian film.

Any student or member of the public can attend. Of those who are planning to come, students have expressed positive feelings about the coming series.

“I’m pretty excited about it,” sophomore Zedekiah Fries said. “We’re learning about these issues of China’s past and current society by watching movies about them.”

The lecture series marks the third time the Whitworth history department has hosted a Chinese film series. Viewers outside of Asia rarely have the chance to see the selected films, Clark said. In fact, China banned a particular film from theaters in the country.

The four installments of the series will take place Oct. 16, 23, 30 and Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m. in Weyerhaeuser Hall Room 111.

Daniel Lee Staff Writer

Contact Daniel Lee at daniellee17@my.whitworth.edu

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