Featured Post: GIFs, Chinese History Style

The students in Sue Fernsebner‘s Chinese History through Film course have been hard at work creating GIFs as part of their film analyses. There are a bunch of excellent GIFs that try and capture a particularly significant moment within the film they’re analyzing. For example, the GIF analysis for the film Not One Less (1999) effectively focuses on the film’s recurring use of chalk to frame the underfunding of rural elementary schools in China. I really like how the student uses the GIFs to capture the chalk moments, the only thing is they are far too big and need to be optimized so they’ll load in the browser.

Another analysis I really loved is the sequence taken from the 1994 film Ermo. This film follows one woman’s obsession with purchasing a television, and the following multi-shot GIF sequence, alongside the student’s analysis, really captures the emergence of consumerism and the rols of capitalism in 1990s China—something we’ve witnessed the apotheosis of in the 21st century.

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There is also this four-part giffing of the highly politicized sex scene with Gong Li in Ju Dou (1990). Brilliant stuff, it is similar to the GIFs I experiemnted with from Red Surghum last year for this class, and how cool to see the students this year going well beyond that!

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Finally, another GIF I really enjoyed but is too heavy to link to in this post is this sweeping shot from the 1950s propanganda film The Red Detachment of Women. I love how the GIF captures the way in which masculine and feminine roles in the revolution are framed, as well as the sexual innuendo of the scene.

And that’s just a few of the nineteen examples of students playing with GIFs to analyze Chinese history through films.  Now that’s EDUCATIONAL!

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