Since the first decades of the 20th century — Macau (1924) and more than a dozen documentaries of M. Antunes Amor throughout the 20s and 30s, or the documentaries of Miguel Spiguel —, going through filmmakers such as Paulo Rocha (A Ilha dos Amores, 1982; A Ilha de Moraes, 1984; O Desejado ou As Montanhas da Lua, 1987), Luís Filipe Rocha (Amor e Dedinhos de Pé, 1991) or João Mário Grilo (Os olhos da Ásia, 1996), to the most recent years — with Ivo M. Ferreira (O Homem da Bicicleta - Diário de Macau, 1997 e Em Volta, 2002), the filmography of João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata (China China, 2007; Alvorada Vermelha, 2011; A Última Vez que Vi Macau (2012); Mahjong, 2013; IEC Long, 2014), or the very recent Ama-San(2016) by Cláudia Varejão — one can observe a series of gestures that, passing through the postcolonial transformations, bring the Portuguese filmography closer to Asian culture and spaces to which the country has been linked since the Discoveries. Asia is, in so many of these films, interpreted and problematised through a set of images and categories dating back to the 16th century. Going from an interest in the inaugural moments of this encounters to an interest in contemporary migratory movements, a discreet but consequent permanence of the topic in Portuguese cinema is revealed, even in authors for whom it is not a central topic. This phenomenon opens a panorama in which the cinema, like literature, stays connected to a regular and continuous process of reflection on Portugal, which intensifies with the representation of the Other and the proximity to the Eastern imaginary. For this Conference, proposals offering transdisciplinary, comparative and innovative perspectives on the representations of Asian alterity in Portuguese cinema are particularly relevant.

The International Conference Images of Asia in Portuguese Cinema, an initiative under the research line of the Centre for Comparative Studies ORION - Portuguese Orientalism, will be held on March 16-17, 2017, at the Auditorium III of the Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon, with a set of sessions taking place at the Portuguese Cinematheque - Cinema Museum. A book will result of this Conference as part of CEC’s book series ACT - Alterities, Crossings, Transfers.

Call for paper

Important Dates

Draft paper submission deadline:2017-01-20

Draft paper acceptance notification:2017-01-25

Topics of submission

Potential papers can address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Cultural, aesthetic and literary imports from the Asian space to Portuguese/European cinema;

  • Colonial and postcolonial Asia: cultural memory, gender, race in Portuguese cinema;

  • Images of Asian otherness in Portugal;

  • The Orient and the exotic in cinema: meanings and signifiers;

  • Cinema and its ethnographic value: journeys, diasporas, imaginaries and symbols;

  • Orientalist utopias/dystopias in Portuguese filmography.


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