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Masters of Disasters? On leadership and (natural) catastrophe in contemporary Chinese cinema.

Speaker: Martin Gieselmann (Heidelberg)

23.04.2012, 6 pm to 8 pm

Heidelberg: Karl Jaspers Center, Voßstrasse 2, Gebäude 4400, Raum 212.

Both in history and today, China has to cope with multifaceted challenges stemming from the forces of nature: Droughts in central China, floods from major rivers, earthquakes in Northern China as well as typhoons on the coasts all meant and mean ongoing threats to the lives of the Chinese people. It comes as no surprise that concepts and practices of leadership in China are closely related to the ways in which Chinese leaders (or previously: rulers) act at the moment natural disaster occurs. Contemporary Chinese cinema has taken up these issues numerous times and often conceptualized them as popular big budget movies. In abstract, the talk looks at ways in which catastrophes are framed within contemporary Chinese cinema as such. In detail, it tries to outline how  leaders in selected movies have been depicted in their attempts to take precautions, control the situation, fight for solutions - or fail when facing the disaster.

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