In Praise of Parochial Blockbusters

Film scholars oriented towards criticism of national and independent cinemas have been unsettled in recent decades by the emergence across several film-making centres of action blockbusters with nakedly global ambitions. Taking up the generic forms of the Hollywood blockbuster, these films use them to address deeply local, cultural and cinematic issues while reaching wider audiences who are free to ignore those issues entirely. The lecture reflected on the transformative power of cinematic clichés in blockbusters by Chinese and Korean filmmakers who deal with national traumas by making “parochial” transnational films. 

Meaghan Morris is Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia, and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. She works on history in popular culture, especially on popular thinking about social and historical change. Her books include Too Soon, Too Late: History in Popular Culture (1998); Hong Kong Connections: Transnational Imagination in Action Cinema (co-ed. 2005); Identity Anecdotes: Translation and Media Culture (2006) and Creativity and Academic Activism: Instituting Cultural Studies (co-ed. 2012). A former Chair of the International Association for Cultural Studies, Prof. Morris is currently Chair of the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society.

Ravi Vasudevan is Professor at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Thursday, 27 March 2014, 6.30 pm
CSDS Seminar Hall