Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

Cinematic Locations: Traveling with the Moving Image in Asia (1930s-Present)

Friday, July 6
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Kadamba, Lower Ground Floor

This panel explores “cinematic location” to map the reality and imagination of cinematic movement across Asia from the 1930s to the present. We approach “cinematic location” as an expanded terrain that includes sites of representation, co-production, exhibition, and regulation. Using slim traces in Indian trade journals and studio papers, Mukherjee attempts to open up a history of Indian film exhibition in the Fiji Islands in the 1930s, bringing into view the intra-regional and inter-ethnic historical solidarities and tensions born of the British Empire. Govil examines the varied terrain of co-produced and crossover Hindi cinema in China that has emerged after the success of the Bollywood film Dangal, putting these initiatives within the larger context of enduring Cold War legacies. Tracking Bombay cinema’s use of color film and lighter cameras in the 1960s, Mazumdar traces a photographic imagination that was enabled by highways, cars and new modes of mobility, uncovering the fascinating links between infrastructure, materiality, and aesthetics. Drawing on extensive research in government archives, Nair narrates the institutional censorship of Hollywood blockbuster The Exorcist as it circulated in the 1970s and 1980s’ Israel, India and Malaysia, to reveal the preoccupations of postcolonial film censorship with popular culture’s depictions of superstition and strategic battles over film exhibition in the Cold War. By tracing the circuits of cinematic images on and off the screen, the papers in this panel move past the binary of movement and stasis inherent in the concept of ‘location’ to map inter-locational flows of power and desire.

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Debashree Mukherjee

Columbia University, United States

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Nitin Govil

University of Southern California, United States

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Ranjani Mazumdar

Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

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