Early Cinema in Asia
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233 pages
English

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Description

Early Cinema in Asia explores how cinema became a popular medium in the world's largest and most diverse continent. Beginning with the end of Asia's colonial period in the 19th century, contributors to this volume document the struggle by pioneering figures to introduce the medium of film to the vast continent, overcoming geographic, technological, and cultural difficulties. As an early form of globalization, film's arrival and phenomenal growth throughout various Asian countries penetrated not only colonial territories but also captivated collective states of imagination. With the coming of the 20th century, the medium that began as mere entertainment became a means for communicating many of the cultural identities of the region's ethnic nationalities, as they turned their favorite pastime into an expression of their cherished national cultures. Covering diverse locations, including China, India, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Iran, and the countries of the Pacific Islands, contributors to this volume reveal the story of early cinema in Asia, helping us to understand the first seeds of a medium that has since grown deep roots in the region.


Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Beginnings of Cinema in Asia / Nick Deocampo
1. Early Asian Cinema and the Public Sphere / Wimal Dissanayake
2. Nationalism, Contradiction, and Identity: or, A Reconsideration of Early Cinema in the Philippines / Charles Musser
3. Film's Initial Reception in China during Its Period of Infancy / Ritsu Yamamoto
4. Hong Kong's Cinematic Beginnings, 1896-1908 / Wai-ming Law
5. How Cinema Came and Stayed in Taiwan / Daw-ming Lee
6. One Print in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Film Industry and Culture in 1910s Japan / Aaron Gerow
7. Distributing Scandinavia: Nordisk Film in Asia / Nadi Tofighian
8. The Civilizing Cinema Mission: Colonial Beginnings of Film in Indochina / Tilman Baumgartel
9. A National Cinema takes Root in a Colonial Regime: Early Cinema in India / P. K. Nair
10. Colonial Beginnings of Cinema in the Philippines / Nick Deocampo
11. From Shadowplay to the Silver Screen: Early Malay(sian) Cinema / Hassan Abdul Muthalib
12. Iranian Cinema: Before the Revolution / Shahin Parhami
13. Royalty Shapes Early Thai Film Culture / Anchalee Chaiworaporn
14. "I was born but": Some Thoughts on the Origins of Cinema in Asia / Stephen Bottomore
15. Before Moana: Early Cinema of the Pacific / Stephen Bottomore
16. Early Cinema in Central Asia: The Start of an Ascent / Stephen Bottomore
Appendix: Chronology of Film Beginnings in Asia / Nick Deocampo
Selected Bibliography
Index

Sujets

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Publié par
Date de parution 09 octobre 2017
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253034441
Langue English

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EARLY CINEMA IN ASIA
EARLY CINEMA IN ASIA
Edited by Nick Deocampo
Indiana University Press
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
iupress.indiana.edu
2017 by Indiana University Press
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Cataloging information is available from the Library of Congress.
ISBN 978-0-253-02536-4 (cloth)
ISBN 978-0-253-02554-8 (paperback)
ISBN 978-0-253-02728-3 (ebook)
1 2 3 4 5 22 21 20 19 18 17
For Aruna Vasudev-for her vision and dedication in promoting Asian cinema and making me and a generation of film critics, scholars, filmmakers, and festival programmers appreciate Asian film culture
Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Beginnings of Cinema in Asia
1 Early Asian Cinema and the Public Sphere
2 Nationalism, Contradiction, and Identity; or, A Reconsideration of Early Cinema in the Philippines
3 Film s Initial Reception in China during Its Period of Infancy
4 Hong Kong s Cinematic Beginnings, 1896-1908
5 How Cinema Arrived and Stayed in Taiwan
6 One Print in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Film Industry and Culture in 1910s Japan
7 Distributing Scandinavia: Nordisk Film in Asia
8 The Civilizing Cinema Mission: Colonial Beginnings of Film in Indochina
9 A National Cinema Takes Root in a Colonial Regime: Early Cinema in India
10 Colonial Beginnings of Cinema in the Philippines
11 From Shadow Play to the Silver Screen: Early Malay(sian) Cinema
12 Iranian Cinema: Before the Revolution
13 Royalty Shapes Early Thai Film Culture
14 I Was Born, but : Some Thoughts on the Origins of Cinema in Asia
15 Before Moana : Early Cinema of the Pacific
16 Early Cinema in Central Asia: The Start of an Ascent
Appendix: Chronology of Film Beginnings in Asia
Selected Bibliography
Index
Acknowledgments
I T HAS BEEN a long journey to get this book published. For making its publication possible, there are a lot of people and institutions I want to thank. I first express gratitude to the Nippon Foundation, particularly its executive director, Tatsuya Tanami, because of the Asian Public Intellectuals Fellowships grant it awarded me. Through the grant, I was able to organize the Origins of Cinema in Asia Conference in Quezon City, Metro Manila, in 2005. The conference gathered film scholars, critics, festival programmers, and cineastes from Spain, Sweden, the United States, Belgium, Thailand, Australia/Malaysia, and the Philippines. The initial contributions to this book came from among papers presented at the conference. The plenary speaker was Dr. Charles Musser from Yale University, whose paper is included in this book. He became the guiding voice in our discussions on early cinema. As organizer of the event, I thought of the conference as something that would be similar to the annual Pordenone silent film festival in Italy, where early cinema is studied and celebrated. But without a patron, it was hard to continue holding an annual conference or to publish the essays.
A follow-up conference was held in New Delhi, India, two years later. In the Cinefan International Film Festival, organized by Aruna Vasudev, a larger conference was organized, and more countries participated. The papers read at that conference were added to the growing number of essays considered for publication. Again, Dr. Musser lent his support by serving as moderator for the conference panel, which included participants from Asian countries such as India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. They were joined by participants from Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The idea of holding a conference on early cinema in the region proved appealing, and a third conference, the Conference on Asian Cinema Heritage and Culture, was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2008. The event had decidedly Asian participation. This was the last of the conferences on early Asian cinema I would organize.
While a sizable number of essays were gathered from the conferences, the book was still far from publication. Dr. Musser made the crucial step of recommending the collection of essays to Indiana University Press. The publication was green-lighted in late 2008. To those who made the cut and who have been patient in writing and rewriting their essays after more than a decade of waiting, I give my heartfelt thanks.
Despite the initial approval, the task of actually getting the book published would still take years and three Indiana University Press editors guiding its arduous journey. For shepherding the project, I thank Raina Polivka, Jenna Lynn Whitaker, and the current editor, who finally got the book printed, Janice Frisch. To them I owe my sincere thanks for their patience and perseverance.
In addition, I offer my sincerest gratitude to all those who helped me in my research work: the library staffs at the Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.), the National Archives (College Park, Maryland), and the National Film Center (Tokyo) and the archivists, librarians, collectors, museum guides, scholars, critics, researchers, cineastes, and private film collectors who diligently took care of the film holdings and records and who personally assisted me at the libraries, film archives, and film museums in Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, London, New York, Hollywood, Tokyo, Madrid, Barcelona, Belgium, Jakarta, Bangkok, Canberra, Shanghai, Hanoi, Amsterdam, Tampere, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Manila, Cebu, and Iloilo.
Finally, to Charles Musser, for the invaluable help and unwavering support he has given to this project-from recommending the book to Indiana University Press for publication to proofreading individual contributions-my gratitude is boundless.
EARLY CINEMA IN ASIA
Introduction
The Beginnings of Cinema in Asia
Nick Deocampo
Arrival of Film
The history of early cinema in Asia remains largely unwritten, perhaps because the region tends to place a strong emphasis on national cinemas-one that affirms the present-day popularity of motion pictures while forgetting their historical beginnings. When people speak of Asian cinema, they often talk about Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Korean, Thai, Filipino, Malaysian, Indonesian, Hong Kong, Vietnamese, Iranian, Sri Lankan, Taiwanese, and other national cinemas. After more than a century of motion pictures, cinema in Asia has become as diverse as the region s multistate configuration. But what identity did cinema have when it first arrived? Was cinema always identified as national ?
By examining cinema s historical roots, the authors in this book help establish its diverse identities at the moment of its arrival. (Were the identities colonial, local, or transnational?) Lessons can be learned from studying how cinema first began in Asia. One lesson is that of changing identity: the identity of Asia at the time of film s arrival (during the age of colonization) was far different from the identity the region assumed when film reached its maturity (during the period of nationalism) and will yet assume once globalization has done its share of transforming the region (will this period finally foster a truly Asian cinema?).
When film first appeared, Asia was virtually a continent of colonies ( figure I.1 ). 1 The moving picture device arrived in Asia through Western colonial agents, who left it behind as one of their enduring legacies. The film apparatus was introduced by the French, British, Spaniards, Americans, Dutch, Italians, and Germans, among a few others. Its appearance toward the end of Asia s colonial period makes for an interesting argument that long before countries became independent nation-states and the notion of national cinemas prevailed, there already was cinema. Its identity, however, was far from what we know of the national film industries that exist today.
Film s arrival was tied to the region s modern maritime history. Motion pictures appeared and first flourished in coastal areas along the routes taken by ocean liners. Rightly so, because the end of the nineteenth century was a time when transcontinental navigation created closer relations between West and East: steamships reduced travel time by more than half that of the slow-moving galleons of bygone years. The West s increasingly industrialized economy brought with it new inventions delivered in steel ships, among them the motion picture device. Moving picture shows flourished in seaport cities like Bombay, Manila, Shanghai, Yokohama, Batavia (Jakarta), Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapura (Singapore), Malacca, Sugbu (Cebu), and Pusan. While it did not take long for motion pictures to move inland, film initially found its home in these seaside cities.


Figure I.1. Asia was once a region dominated by Western colonial powers. The flags shown in this map represent the Western countries that exercised control over their Asian territories. ( Harper s Weekly , June 11, 1898,

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