The “China Girl,” sometimes called a “China Doll” or “girl head” is a type of reference image used in commercial film laboratories since the late 1920s and continuing in limited used today. The China Girl has appeared in more films than any actress, though, outside of the film laboratory, she is rarely seen. Behind the scenes, however, she is essential to setting the appearance of a film, determining exposure, image density, and color balance. While the China Girl is a crucial part of the film production process, her essential role in film history has been most often overlooked.
This program gathers a selection of 16mm experimental films that consider the China Girl from various perspectives, including that of celluloid materiality, the behind-the-scenes workings of the film industry, and the often marginal role of women in film history. The screening is organized and will be preceded by an introduction by film scholar and Humanities Center fellow Genevieve Yue.
- New Improved Institutional Quality: In the Environment of Liquids and Nasals a Parasitic Vowel Sometimes Develops (Owen Land, 1976, 16mm, 10 min)
- Film in Which There Appear Sprocket Holes, Edge Lettering, Dirt Particles, Etc. (Owen Land, 1965-66, 16mm, 4 min)
- Standard Gauge (Morgan Fisher, 1984, 16mm, 35 min)
- China Girls (Michelle Silva, 2006, 16mm, 3 min)
- To the Happy Few (Thomas Draschan and Stella Friedrichs, 2003, 16mm, 5 min)
- Killing Lena (Jamie Allen, 2006, DV, 2 min)
-Releasing Human Energies (Mark Toscano, 2012, 16mm, 5.5 min)
Co-sponsored by the Digital Humanities Center, Film and Media Studies, the Department of Art & Art History, the Humanities Center, and the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies. Special thanks to Almudena Escobar López and Josh Romphf. Poster design by Adam Maida.
All film will be shown on original format
Free and open to the public!