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Foreign Films and Cultural Signs


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This is a student presentation from a University of Calgary Performance in Film and Videogames class.

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Foreign Films and Cultural Signs

  1. 1. FOREIGN FILMS AND CULTURAL SIGNS Panagiotis, Omar, Ixia, Orkhan
  2. 2. QI – “CHI”  In Jingju, Qi is what makes a good performer.  Qi means air, spirit, energy, or breath.  Within the performance, “qi” is best translated as “presence”.  Breath control is important in Chinese theatre.  The abdomen is the residence of Qi.
  3. 3. QI CONTINUED  In Jingju theatre, the basic poses of performers are rounded in the arms; when the arms are extended, backs of the hands face towards the chest.  Toes are turned back towards the ankle or the sole turned inwards when the leg is raised.  These poses are maintained to withhold the flow of qi.
  4. 4. DEMONSTRATION:  Four volunteers come up and strike a pose.
  5. 5. QI IN JINGJU VS. CLASSICAL BALLET  Even when a performer is finished rehearsing a sequence, performer will crouch in a ball with their heels off the floor to rest to encourage the qi to return to the solar plexus.  Tai Chi example: watch?v=TBvF6r6DOvc  Classical ballet has been criticized as ‘throw[ing] the qi away from the body” due to the fully extended or drooping positions in the dance.  Classical Ballet: watch?v=QpVyrqR9W10
  6. 6. JINGU VS. METHOD ACTING  In Jingju, “[m]ovement does not induce the spirit to be present. It is the manifestation of the spirit’s presence.” (Riley, 201)  Speaking in Stanislavskian terms, the emotion within the actor should conjure up the physical movement in the body.
  7. 7. NINE-POINT THEATRE STAGE The Nine-Point stage configuration is used in various forms of Chinese theatre, including Jingju and Nuo theatre. The space can be divided and sub-divided as a fractal to infinity. Students are expected to memorize and repeat their motions exactly by following the points on the stage.
  8. 8. NINE-POINT THEATRE STAGE CONTINUED  “[T]he relations the performer makes with his body as he moves between each cell or area of the stage space are more important than the perspective of the spectator.” (Riley, 212)  This use of space can be seen even today in contemporary sets and choreography in film. 
  9. 9. CHINESE FUNERAL RITUALS  Chinese Theatre plays a large role within the funeral rites. Various types of complicated rituals often take on a theatrical element.  For example: The Procession of Wang Gong in Jichang village.  “The [Wang Gong] statue was then carefully raised onto the litter which was borne by at least twenty men at a time, different teams taking the burden in turn—it appeared to be extremely heavy.” (Riley, 229) 
  10. 10. HUMOR AND STEREOTYPES ACROSS CULTURES  While some humor is universal, there are certain scenarios that are only perceived as humorous under cultural lenses. Sometimes the humor is translatable, but in other cases, understanding of the specific culture is required to appreciate the joke.  In the next few clips, we would like to demonstrate various types of humor across different cultures.
  11. 11. VIDEO CLIPS  Comedy Clip from Greece:  Comedy Clip from Turkey:  Comedy Clip from Japan:
  12. 12. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS  Could the principle of qi be applied to Western acting? Why or why not?  What other rituals have elements of performance?  Besides humor, what other elements in film are culturally specific?