This interview features Guang Chuanlan, a Sibe director who has been active since 1976. Guang is known for establishing Chinese Muslim cinema made in the Xinjiang autonomous region in socialist China. Many of her films are released and awarded in Arabic countries and in India. Her enduring career exemplifies the key role women filmmakers have played in building Chinese cinema under state-driven film policies. While it is commonly believed that the Fifth Generation (represented by male directors such as Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, and Tian Zhuangzhuang) put post–Cultural Revolution Chinese cinema on the international map, Guang's career (along with those of other women directors) compels us to reexamine Chinese film historiography and excavate a more complex constellation, especially with regard to women's authorship in intersection with race/ethnicity and the state, and inter-Asian film interactions based on a shared religion—a dimension oftentimes obscured by the dominant paradigm of East-West internationality.
Director Guang Chunlan in Conversation
Guang Chunlan is a Sibe ethnic born in 1940 in Ili, Xinjiang, China. She studied directing at Beijing Film Academy from 1961 to 1966. She started working at Nanjing Film Studio in 1976, after the Cultural Revolution, and permanently moved to Tianshan Studio in Xinjiang in 1983. By 2013 she had directed twenty-six fiction feature films, the majority of which center on ethnic groups in Xinjiang; some were made in several ethnic languages. Many of her films have been released and awarded in Arabic countries and India.
Zhou Xia is an associate researcher at China Film Art Research Center, specializing in Chinese film history, film narratology, and women's film. She has published numerous articles, including “A Study of the Genealogy of Female Characters in Chinese Early Cinema,” (in Chinese Early Cinema, China Broadcasting and Television Press, 2013); “The 1980s of Chinese Women Directors—Reexamining Women Directors' Work in the New Era” (in Chinese Cinema during the New Era 1978–1999, China Broadcasting and Television Press, 2017); and “Personality, Body and Being—The Three Decades of Chinese Women's Film 1978–2012” (in Study of Chinese Women's Cinema, China Film Press, 2013). Based on five hundred hours of oral histories from interviews she conducted, she has compiled The Film Trace of Shanghai (Minzu Press, 2011) and the two-volume Her Light and Shadow: Interviews with Women Directors (China Film Press, 2018). She coedited Film-Television Narratology (China Mass Communication University Press, 2007).
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Zhou Xia, Yiwen Liu; Director Guang Chunlan in Conversation. Feminist Media Histories 1 January 2019; 5 (1): 95–112. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2019.5.1.95
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