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Cinema Thinks the World: Irma Vep (1996) Film Screening and Discussion

September 15, 2022
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
at UBC Robson Square (map)

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About the Event:

The Public Humanities Hub and UBC Connects at Robson Square present a free screening of Olivier Assayas meta-cinematic masterpiece, Irma Vep (France, 1996), starring global Hong Kong superstar Maggie Cheung. The screening will be accompanied by a talk and discussion led by Dr. Mila Zuo, whose new book, Vulgar Beauty: Acting Chinese in the Global Sensorium (Duke University Press, 2022), looks at how the charisma of Asian women film stars, including Cheung, shifts when placed in a transnational context. All are welcome also to discuss how the film engages with issues of nationality, gender, race, and cinematic history in its story of a director trying desperately to remake Louis Feuillades classic silent film, Les Vampires (1915-1916). The event, which will be hosted by Dr. Danielle Wong, is part of the Cinema Thinks The World project, a series of 12 screenings and discussions held between UBC and the Cinematheque.

Join us virtually via Zoom for the post-film discussion and Q&A period with this link.

Schedule:

6:30 PM: Doors open, light snacks and beverages will be provided
7:00 PM: Event starts
7:15 PM: Film begins
8:45 PM: Discussion, Q&A Period

About the Film:

Olivier Assayas’s live-wire international breakthrough stars a magnetic Maggie Cheung as a version of herself: a Hong Kong action movie star who arrives in Paris to play the latex-clad lead in a remake of Louis Feuillade’s classic 1915 crime serial Les vampires. What she finds is a behind-the-scenes tangle of barely controlled chaos as egos clash, romantic attractions simmer, and an obsessive director (a cannily cast Jean-Pierre Léaud) drives himself to the brink to realize his vision. Blending blasts of silent cinema, martial arts flicks, and the music of Sonic Youth and Ali Farka Touré into a hallucinatory swirl of postmodern cool, Assayas composes a witty reflection on the nineties French film industry and the eternal tension between art and commercial entertainment.

About the Moderator:

Mila Zuo is an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre and Film at UBC. Her research areas include transnational Asian cinemas; film-philosophy; abject epistemologies; star studies; digital and new media; and critical theories of gender, sexuality, and race and ethnicity. Her book Vulgar Beauty: Acting Chinese in the Global Sensorium (Duke University Press, 2022) focuses on the affective racialization of Chinese women film stars, demonstrating the ways which vulgar, flavourful beauty disrupts Western and colonial notions of beauty.

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