Organized Panel Session
Our panel explores one of the most understudied topics in film history, particularly that of East Asia: women’s film. Women’s film has received little critical consideration in a world in which it has been peripheral to a tradition defined as male. In recognition of the lack of research on the work of East Asian women filmmakers, we present a few examples from China, Japan and South Korea to generate a conversation about the praxis and politics of women’s filmmaking in East Asia. However, our goal is neither simply to fill gaps nor to single out female artists for special consideration. Rather, by presenting women’s films that radicalize male-centered filmmaking and discourse, we aim to frame some of the many and complex ways that feminism—however hard to define—and cinema are related in East Asia. To do so, we focus on two phenomena. The first concerns the ideological stance taken in films directed by women. In particular, we discuss how female artists engage in conversation with a variety of international and historical influences that interact with local movements, aspirations and conditions. The second is women’s relation to technology, which is crucial because the gendered construction of technology presents it as masculine, thus inhibiting women’s involvement in directing films. By pulling together the connections and differences among several filmmakers and their works, our panel ultimately seeks ways to conceptualize East Asian feminist filmmaking in the past and the present.