January China Seminar

Happy New Year    恭贺新禧 

Friends of East-West Center cordially invites you to the spring 2020 sessions of the 

CHINA SEMINAR  

Thursday, 9 January, 2020, 12 noon  

at  

Maple Garden Restaurant, 909 Isenberg Street, Honolulu  

Topic:  

Justice and Law in the (1980s) Movies 

By 

Alison W. Conner 

During the unusually open years of 1979 to 1981 in China, films depicting the wrongs of the Cultural Revolution helped people come to terms with the tragedies they had suffered during the “eleven bad years.”  Few of those movies could stand up to serious viewing today, whatever they meant to audiences then, but the best examples of this “scar cinema” are powerful films worthy of continued attention.  This presentation will discuss The Legend of Tianyun Mountain  天云山传奇, directed by Xie Jin (1923-2008), the greatest of China’s Third-Generation filmmakers, and Evening Rain 巴山夜雨, made by Wu Yonggang (1907-1982), the brilliant Second-Generation director of the 1934 masterpiece Goddess 神女.  Though very different in story and style, both films are deeply felt works of art as well as historical documents reflecting the concerns of their time—and both raise important issues of  justice and accountability that remain surprisingly relevant to Chinese society today. 

 Alison W. Conner is Professor of Law and Carlsmith Ball Faculty Scholar at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai`i/Mānoa, where she teaches courses on Chinese and comparative law.  She earned her PhD degree in Chinese history from Cornell and her JD degree from Harvard Law School.  Before joining the University of Hawai‘i in 1995, she taught law in China, Singapore and Hong Kong for twelve years; in 2004, 2014 and 2015 she also returned to teach at Tsinghua University and Tongji University.  Her recent articles focus on depictions of the legal system in Chinese movies, including Courtroom Drama, Chinese Style,”  “Law and Justice in Evening Rain,” and “Images of Justice (and Injustice) in the Movies of Xie Jin.” 

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November China Seminar

CHINA SEMINAR

Thursday, 14 November, 2019, 12 noon

at

Maple Garden Restaurant, 909 Isenberg Street, Honolulu

Topic:

Remembering Shanghai

– A Memoir of Socialites, Scholars and Scoundrels

By

Claire Chao

Claire Chao presents Remembering Shanghai, a memoir that she co-wrote with her mother Isabel Sun Chao. To date the book has won 17 literary awards, including the prestigious Rubery Prize Book of the Year. The story follows five generations from imperial China to modern-day Hong Kong, and is accompanied by evocative period illustrations and photographs. Isabel grows up in the wealthy Sun family in glamorous 1930s Shanghai. When Mao comes to power, she journeys to Hong Kong, unaware that she will never see her father again. She and daughter Claire return to Shanghai six decades later to confront their complex past – one they discover is filled with love and betrayal, kidnappers and concubines, glittering pleasure palaces and underworld crime bosses. By turns harrowing and heartwarming, the memoir explores identity, loss and redemption against an epic backdrop of a country in turmoil.  

Claire was born and raised in Hong Kong. As a youth she continually, yet unknowingly sought connections to her parents’ Shanghai homeland. She spent a decade creating Remembering Shanghai after thirty years in luxury brand management. While researching her family stories, she uncovered an uncanny link with the grandfather she’d never met. She graduated with highest honors from Princeton University and was named to Avenue magazine’s “500 Most Influential Asian Americans” and Hong Kong Tatler’s “Who’s Who in Hong Kong”.

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