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Affective Authenticity: the Opera Film in Early Chinese Cinema

Jia, Yutian (2024) Affective Authenticity: the Opera Film in Early Chinese Cinema. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Since film entered China in the late 19th century, it has been received as a new technology and art form related to theater. This study intends to find a tripartite connection between traditional Chinese theater, Western cinematic theories and practices, and Chinese film/literary critics in their contribution to the development of Chinese cinema aesthetics in the first half of the 20th century. I argue that conventional theater extensively influences early Chinese cinema regarding its aesthetics and construction of affective spectatorship. In particular, the opera film finds a middle ground in negotiating the cinema sphere's realistic and abstract aesthetics and functions. In contrast to cinematic realism, the authenticity in Chinese opera films is presented through authentic feelings, and I name it as affective authenticity. The feeling is fulfilled through participatory spectatorship and cinematic affect that vibrate between the viewer, the screen, and the cinematic sphere. In traditional Chinese theater, where abstraction is one of the main characteristics, the authenticity perceived by the audience is not conveyed by the stage settings but through a kind of emotional transmission. Similarly, the opera films of the Republican period also carried on such interactive effects on their audience.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Jia, Yutianyuj52@pitt.eduyuj520009-0009-0433-2997
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairQian,
Committee MemberExley,
Committee MemberMostern,
Date: 10 January 2024
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 19 June 2023
Approval Date: 10 January 2024
Submission Date: 11 December 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 67
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > East Asian Studies
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Early Chinese cinema, Affect, Affective authenticity, Opera film, Cinema and opera space
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2024 14:23
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2024 14:23


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