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August 2000, Week 2


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Thomas Morsch <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 9 Aug 2000 12:06:06 +0100
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[log in to unmask] wrote:

>The real question seems to me how legitimate it is to base a class on
>something as ambiguous as the concept of a national cinema.  You say
>"asian" but which one?  The relations between Chinese (mainland, Hong
>Kong, Taiwan) are quite complex; Japanese, Korean and Indian are even more
>different.  Does Indonesian count?  It's not a question of dubious
>national differences but that this might be a limited approach.
I agree. Indeed, talking about "asian cinema" just has been a shorthand
to point out the problem at hand. I would not consider teaching a course
on such a vague topic as "asian cinema".
As someone in a private e-mail to me convincingly pointed out, he would
draw the line when academics write whole books about national cinemas
without being able to speak its language. Which leads me to ask if anyone
knows if David Bordwell, who just published a book on Hongkong cinema,
does speak chinese or kantonese. Bordwell could serve as an interesting
example, as he is often acknowledged for rigorous scholarship.

Thomas Morsch
Film Dept.
Freie Universitaet Berlin

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