BCAF, Harvard University, and Wellesley College jointly held a dialogue lecture titled "Walking toward the End of Reality: A Discussion on Non-Fiction/Documentary Films with Liang Hong and Jia Zhangke."

Event Introduction

BCAF is honored to support the international dialogue and exchange event "Walking toward the End of Reality: A Conversation with Liang Hong and Jia Zhangke on Nonfiction and Documentary Film," jointly hosted by Harvard University and Wellesley College.

Liang Hong's book "China in One Village" was first published in 2010, and sparked a wave of nonfiction literature writing in China, establishing Liang Hong's reputation as an important recorder of social change in China. The English version of "China in One Village: the Story of One Town and the Changing World" was published by Verso Books.

This conversation on "Nonfiction and Documentary Film" will invite author Liang Hong and film director Jia Zhangke to delve into and discuss the role of "nonfiction" in literature and film.

Walking toward the End of Reality

A Conversation with Liang Hong and Jia Zhangke on Nonfiction and Documentary Film

Symposium Time

9:00-11:00pm Eastern Time on October 21, 2021
9:00-11:00am Beijing Time on October 22, 2021

Academic Moderators

David Der-wei Wang
(Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature, Harvard University)

Mingwei Song
(Professor and Chair of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Wellesley College)

Special Guests

Michael Berry
(Director of the Center for Chinese Studies and Professor of Asian Languages and Cultures, UCLA)

Jie Li
(Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University)

Supporting Institutions

Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Wellesley College

Wellesley College Humanities Center

Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation

Verso Books, New York

About "China in Liang Village":

Author Liang Hong left her ancestral village for 10 years and became a writer and university professor in Beijing. Afterwards, she began to revisit her hometown, Liang Village in Henan Province. What she saw there was a large family torn apart by the great changes in Chinese society, as well as a village hollowed out by problems such as immigration, lack of resources in education, healthcare, and environmental damage.

Liang Hong's moving narrative combines family memories, literary observations, and social commentary. This book not only became a bestseller in China but also brought her fame. "China in Liang Village" tells a story belonging to world history through the perspective of a clear-headed observer, a family, and a village.

About the Guest Speaker:

Liang Hong

A professor of Chinese literature at Renmin University of China, dedicated to the study of contemporary Chinese literature, rural literature, and the relationship between rural China. As a writer, she has won many awards in the literary world. In addition to her academic contributions to the study of Chinese literature in the 20th century, she is also known for her fiction and non-fiction works depicting the rapid changes in Chinese society as witnessed by her hometown of Liang Village, including "China in Liang Village", "Leaving Liang Village", "Liang Village Ten Years", "The Holy Family", and two novels "Liang Guangzheng's Light" and "Four Images". She was also one of the main narrators in Jia Zhangke's 2020 documentary "Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue."

Jia Zhangke

A film director, screenwriter, and founder of the Pingyao International Film Festival. His major works include films such as "Xiao Wu", "Platform", "Unknown Pleasures", "The World", "Still Life", "24 City", "A Touch of Sin", "Mountains May Depart", "Ash Is Purest White", and "Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue", among others. He has won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival ("Still Life"), and his works have been selected multiple times for the Cannes Film Festival's main competition unit. He has also won the Best Screenplay Award ("A Touch of Sin") and the Golden horse Award at the Cannes Film Festival (Career Achievement Award).

About Academic Hosts

Wang Dewei

Wang Dewei(David Wang) is the Edward C. Henderson Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. His research areas include modern Chinese literature and comparative literature. He was elected as an academician of the Academia Sinica in 2004, selected as a Changjiang Scholar in mainland China in 2008, and elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019. He edited the Harvard New Literary History of Modern China (2015) and has published over twenty books, including Fictional Realism in Twentieth-century China: Mao Dun, Lao She, Shen Congwen (1992), Fin-de-siecle Splendor: Repressed Modernities of Late Qing Fiction, 1849-1911 (1998), The Monster That Is History: History, Violence, and Fictional Writing in Twentieth-century China (2003), The Lyrical in Epic Time: Modern Chinese Intellectuals and Artists through the 1949 Crisis (2014), and Why Fiction Matters in Contemporary China (2020).

Song Mingwei

Song Mingwei is a professor in the East Asian Studies Department at Wellesley College and is currently the department chair. His research areas include modern Chinese literature, comparative literature, and science fiction. He has published seven Chinese-language books, including The New Wave of Chinese Science Fiction, Criticism and Imagination, and Eileen Chang's Life, as well as an English-language book titled Young China: National Rejuvenation and the Bildungsroman, 1900-1959 (2015) and an upcoming book, Fear of Seeing: The Poetics and Politics of Chinese Science Fiction (2022). He has also edited The Reincarnated Giant: An Anthology of Twenty-First Century Chinese Science Fiction (2018) and other works. He has received numerous awards, including the Dirks Award from the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study and the Wang An Academic Award from the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University.

About Invited Guests

Michael Berry

A professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and serves as the director of the China Studies Center. His primary research areas are modern Chinese literature and film. His English books include A History of Pain: Trauma in Modem Chinese Fiction and Film (2008), Jia Zhangke’s Hometown Trilogy (2009), and others, as well as Chinese-language works including Light and Shadow: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese-Language Film Directors, Jia Zhangke's Hometown Trilogy, and Time for Boiling the Sea: Hou Hsiao-hsien's Cinematic Record. He has also translated works from Chinese to English, including Wang Anyi's The Song of Everlasting Sorrow: A Novel of Shanghai, Yu Hua's To Live, and Zhang Dachun's Wild Kids and My Sister, Wuhe's Remains of Life: A Novel, and Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City.

Li Jie

Li Jie is an associate professor in the East Asian Studies Department at Harvard University. His research areas include modern Chinese literature and film. Her major works include Shanghai Homes: Palimpsests of Private Life (2014), Utopian Ruins: A Memorial Museum of the Mao Era (2020), and an upcoming book, Cinematic Guerrillas: Maoist Propaganda as Spirit Mediumship (2022). She was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University from 2012-2013.
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