Karanjeet de Feo-Giet's thesis focuses on contemporary Chinese and Indian entertainment films in Mandarin and Hindi and their roles in communicating ideas about identity and Asian-ness today.
What is the value of entertainment? Is it necessarily consigned to the category of the frivolous, or can it be transformative? Should entertainment films exist at all in countries with deep social problems? Do film makers in such countries in fact have an ethical and moral obligation to produce films that address these issues without regard for their popularity or palatability? Putting the subject in a global context, this talk will compare some examples of popular and independent cinema in China and India, how they deal with diverse social issues from homosexuality to the role of civil society, and their artistic and commercial reception. The talk considers the influence of ethic and moral judgment in the success or failure of these films both domestically and abroad, their inclusion in film festivals, and types of release. The key question: what does entertainment do, and what is it capable of doing, if anything, for the ethical future of contemporary society? And who decides the ideal ethical framework for popular culture anyway?