Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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Introduction

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pp. 1-36

On January 27, 1940, at the Weiyi Theater in Chongqing, the wartime capital of Nationalist China, the public crowded into one of the best theaters in the city for the afternoon screening of Mulan congjun (Mulan Joins the Army, 1939). Directed by veteran filmmaker...

Part I. Resonance

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1. Fiery Action: Toward an Aesthetics of New Heroism

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pp. 39-90

Between 1927 and 1931, the rise of fiery films (huoshao pian) made a phenomenal impression on the Chinese cultural scene as a major subgenre of the burgeoning martial arts film.1 The sweeping success of The Burning of the Red Lotus Temple (Huoshao hongliansi, 1928)...

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2. A Culture of Resonance: Hypnotism, Wireless Cinema, and the Invention of Intermedial Spectatorship

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pp. 91-150

It was New Year’s Eve 1927. Lu Mengshu, the editor in chief of the major film journal Yingxing, had just finished editing an anthology of film criticism, Film, Literature, and Art. He concluded the book with an optimistic observation...

Part II. Transparency

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3. Dances of Fire: Mediating Affective Immediacy

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pp. 153-196

Writing in the spring of 1933, in the aftermath of two recent incidents—the Japanese takeover of Manchuria on September 18, 1931, and the bombing of Shanghai on January 28, 1932—veteran film director Cheng Bugao captured the sensorial shocks of the war...

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4. Transparent Shanghai: Cinema, Architecture, and a Left-Wing Culture of Glass

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pp. 197-262

In 1933 Chinese artist and essayist Feng Zikai (1888– 1975) wrote a brief essay entitled “Glass Architecture,” published in the modernist literary journal Xiandai (Les contemporains).1 Having recently read some of German architectural visionary Paul Scheerbart’s writings...

Part III. Agitation

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5. “A Vibrating Art in the Air”: The Infinite Cinema and the Media Ensemble of Propaganda

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pp. 265-316

In 1941 a curious essay entitled “The Infinite Cinema” appeared in Dianying jishibao (The Movie Chronicle), which was based in Chongqing, China’s Nationalist capital during the Second Sino–Japanese War.1 In the article the author, Li Lishui, portrays the history...

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6. Baptism by Fire: Atmospheric War, Agitation, and a Tale of Three Cities

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pp. 317-374

In late August 1940, the third summer after the Guomindang (GMD) government relocated from the coastal city of Nanjing to the hinter - land city of Chongqing farther up the Yangtze River, Chongqing was still the world’s most- bombed city (the London blitz started in...

Acknowledgments

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pp. 375-380

Notes

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pp. 381-452

Filmography

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pp. 453-460

Index

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pp. 461-480