23.03.24, 14:00, What About China? (2022)

In her most recent film What about China? Trinh T. Minh-ha focuses her gaze on women, children and families in East and South Chinese villages in the early 1990s, some half a century after the famous Cultural Revolution. In line with her now celebrated oeuvre, she thereby pursues a methodical cinematic language based on the experimental re-approximation of archival footage. This method allows her to, as Shivani Radhakrishnan writes, "speak nearby" without objectifying and get close to a subject without seizing on it. In so doing - and with a specific focus on Chinese architecture - she bestows on us a contemplative travel essay about a journey into a traditional and rural China, where notions of harmony, tradition and origin seem to be simultaneously celebrated and challenged. In rejecting unambiguous forms of historiography and reflecting on her own role in them, Trinh T. Minh-ha wonders aloud which traditions and origin stories we share a nostalgic longing for, why and how we do so, what we seem to want to construct with them and, above all, what exactly that nostalgic longing says about us and our current condition.

This film is screened by Film-Plateau on the occasion of the honorary doctorate to be awarded to Trinh T. Minh-ha on 22 March 2024 by the Department of Communication Studies at Ghent University.

This film will be introduced by university promoters Daniel Biltereyst and Sofie Van Bauwel. Afterword with honorary doctor Trinh T. Minh-ha and Martine Huvenne.

Trinh T. Minh-Ha, 2022, USA & China, 235'
Mandarin and English spoken, English subtitles
i.c.w. Film-Plateau
Campus Bijloke
Godshuizenlaan 4
9000 Gent