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FILM-PHILOSOPHY  June 2009

FILM-PHILOSOPHY June 2009

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Subject:

Ethnographic and Colonial Film Day

From:

Ian MacDonald <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Film-Philosophy Salon <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 10 Jun 2009 15:27:41 +0100

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Dear Colleagues
 
You may be interested in the following event, organised by the Louis Le Prince 
Centre in ICS at the University of Leeds, as part of the Royal Anthropological 
Society's 11th International Festival of Ethnographic Film.  This is to be held at 
Leeds Metropolitan University 1st - 4th July.  The Festival's home page (which 
has details of venue and booking) is at:
 
http://raifilmfest.org.uk/film/festival/2009/home
 
This event is the first in a series of collaborative events hosted by the Louis 
Le Prince Centre for Film, Photography & Television at the Institute of 
Communications Studies, University of Leeds and the Leeds International Film 
Festival. It is funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund.

 

Taiwanese Ethnographic Documentaries

 

The morning session is an introduction to recent Taiwanese ethnographic 
documentaries and will include a screening of Wang Chung-Sung’s evocative 
film The Rhythm in Wulu Village. (2003). It will be introduced by Professor Gary 
Rawnsley, Director of the Institute of Communications Studies and Professor of 
Asian International Communications, University of Leeds.

 

Synopsis:  Wulu Village is a Bunun indigenous settlement located in a remote 
eastern mountainous region of Taiwan. The Bunun are famous among Taiwan’s 
indigenous groups for their polyharmonic choral singing, and almost all Bunun 
songs are in this style. In 1952, Japanese musicologist Takatomo presented 
the Bunun song “Tribute to Having a Good Harvest” (also known “Pasibutbut,” 
a song in the style of an octophonic chorus) To The United Nations 
Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation. With its complex 
polyharmonic arrangement, “Pasibutbut” overturned Western musicologists’ 
theory that music was originally monotone, progressed to bitonality, and finally 
achieved polytonality.

Similar to many other indigenous peoples around the world, the Bunun are now 
faced with the danger that their culture and traditions will gradually 
disappear.  Fearing that such indigenous cultures will eventually be lost, 
director Chun-hsiung Wang came to Wulu, trying to find answers to his many 
questions by interviewing local people. Over the course of filming these 
interviews, the director found his beliefs challenged and his heart moved. 



Colonialism and the Archive

 
The second half of the day is dedicated to examining the role of archival 
collections of colonial cinema in the representation and historicisation of 
colonialism. It will also consider the current status of these films and what role 
they now play in the construction of national identities and colonial histories.

 

The afternoon session will explore this theme through two guided screenings 
and a concluding round table discussion chaired by Professor Nicholas Pronay, 
Emeritus Professor in the Institute of Communications, University of Leeds. 



Screening 1: Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire

 

Members of this AHRC funded project will introduce a selection of films from 
the British Film Institute, Imperial War Museum and British Empire and 
Commonwealth Museum. 

 
Screening 2: Colonial Films in the Nederlands Film Archive. 

 
Archivist Nico De Klerk will present a selection of films from the Nederlands Film 
Archive Collection. The presentation will focus on the work of filmmaker J.C. 
Lamster and his association with the Colonial Institute. 



Roundtable discussion (Chair: Prof. Nicholas Pronay)

 

An invited panel discusses the issues raised in the presentations with the 
audience.

 
Louis le Prince Centre The Centre was established in 2002 to provide a focus 
for research covering the interdisciplinary relationships between history, 
theory and practice in the production and consumption of cinema, 
photography and television. The Centre facilitates and encourages 
collaborative research and also organises symposia and media events.  It is 
based at the Institute of Communication Studies at the University of Leeds 
(contact: [log in to unmask]).

 

The Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF) is the largest film festival in 
England outside London. Held in November at various venues of Leeds, it 
shows over 200 films from around the world. It mixes commercial and 
independent work with a special focus on short films. It is now in its 23rd 
year.  

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