By Robert Hamilton
On Friday 27th January, I was invited to give an introductory talk and lead a post screening discussion of Jia Zhangke’s 24 City/24 chengji (China/Hong Kong/Japan 2008) as part of the 2012 Dublin Chinese New Year Film Festival. The film festival itself is part of the city-wide celebration of the year of the Dragon. The event was organized by Dr. Qi Zhang of the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies (SALIS) at Dublin College University and held on campus in the Helix theatre complex. It was co-hosted by Geoff Power, the director of the DCNY film festival and sponsored by Etihad Airways.
The screening was attended by over 60 people, including colleagues from SALIS, students and visiting scholars from China, who provided a lively post-screening debate. The session was chaired by Geoff as Qi and I discussed a variety of subjects raised by the film with an informed and interested audience. We especially covered the issue of Jia’s positioning himself as a specifically Chinese filmmaker after The World/Shijie (China/Japan/France 2004), and his free and experimental use of notions of documentary film. The discussion was followed by screenings of both Chinese and Irish animation films and another lively debate.
All the post event feedback indicates that it was a success and I hope to be invited again. Qi enquired about SALIS developing a more solid relationship with CFFUK, which I hope to raise at our next meeting as well as developing closer ties with the Dublin Chinese New Year Film Festival for next year.