http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17508061.2014.994849">
 

Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

Academy of Film

Title

Translating Yingxi: Chinese film genealogy and early cinema in Hong Kong

Language

English

Abstract

© 2015 Taylor & Francis. The essay targets the concept of yingxi and its translation, "shadowplay," in prevailing histories of Chinese cinema. Yingxi, a popular Chinese term used for motion pictures between 1897 and 1910s, has been translated as "shadowplay" in English language literature. By translating yingxi as "shadowplay," scholars have presumed and forged a link between early cinema and traditional artforms like shadow puppetry, or Peking opera. However, little evidence has been produced to link yingxi (motion pictures) with shadow puppetry, or Peking opera in terms of production, exhibition and reception. This de-stabilizes the equation made between yingxi and "shadowplay." Furthermore, based on new evidence recently recovered on early film exhibition in Hong Kong (1900-1924), we foundyinghua (photo pictures) was used more frequently thanyingxi, indicating the early reception of cinema was more fluid than what has been prescribed by the yingxi concept. Following yinghua, we discovered that the film screenings in colonial Hong Kong of the 1910s and 1920s were multifaceted events serving various functions, ranging from missionary talks to fund raising and enjoyment of the theatre space. The discovery urges us to look beyond the standard film historiography in the early Republican period, as prescribed by the "drama-centered" yingxi concept and its attendant spatial setup in opera theatres and teahouses.

Publication Date

2015

Source Publication Title

Journal of Chinese Cinemas

Volume

9

Issue

1

Start Page

76

End Page

109

Publisher

Intellect

ISSN (print)

17508061

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