Reinventing Mao. Maoisms and National Cinemas

Appel à contribution pour un numéro spécial de Cinéma & Cie . International Film Studies Journal “Reinventing Mao. Maoisms and National Cinemas édité par Marco Dalla Gassa, Corrado Neri and Federico Zecca.

Deadline for abstract proposal: July 3, 2017 Extended deadline: July 16, 2017

The charismatic and controversial figure of Mao Zedong has not only left a deep mark on the history of twentieth-century China – looming over the country’s new capitalist developments, as a sort of ghost – but he has also remarkably spread beyond national borders and into completely different political and social contexts. In particular, after the start of the Cultural Revolution (1966), several groups inspired by Chinese Marxism-Leninism appeared worldwide. From the United States to India, from New Zealand to Peru, from Indonesia to Japan and within the main European countries, specific political ideals, revolutionary propositions, fantasies and images of purity, as well as a Third World perspective have been projected onto the figure of Mao, to some extent giving way to a form of idolatry – so called maolâtrie. More generally, at a trans-national level, Maoism has stood an umbrella term for different desires and intellectual and affective investments, according to their own cultural and geo-political contexts. As a cultural phenomenon, in fact, Maoism represents the ideal place where everyone has been able to invest what they wanted. In other words, each country has developed and, so to speak, re-invented “its own” Maoism with specific characteristics, often completely different from the Chinese original.

Starting from these premises, this special issue of Cinéma & Cie aims to investigate the relationship between national cinemas and trans-national Maoism(s), with a particular focus on the ways in which cinema and its (critical, theoretical, social) discourses have contributed to re-writing (and re-inscribing) Chinese Maoism within different national cultures. In order to reach this goal, this special issue asks scholars to pay less attention to the more ideological and militant aspects of the relation between cinema and Maoism (already widely studied in the past) and to focus instead on more up-to-date theoretical approaches and methodologies, taking into account: audience reception practices (for instance, the impact of given films in specific social and cultural contexts); film critic and cinephilia (also in activist, not only film, magazines); the iconographic relevance of specific images (for instance, the successful circulation of the figure of Mao within the collective imagination at an international level); the penetration of Maoist watchwords within specific film practices including both genre and auteur, as well as the avant-garde.

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Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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