Celebrating the International, Disremembering Shanghai: The Curious Case of the Shanghai International Film Festival


  • Ma Ran Osaka City University, Japan




Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), festival programming, “being international/internationalization” (guojihua), global city, cosmopolitanism


The state-sanctioned Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) is the only film festival accredited by the Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films (FIAPF) in the Greater China region. This paper intends to explore the perceived paradoxes of the SIFF by approaching its vaguely defined vision of “being international/internationalization” (or guojihua). The vision of guojihua has, at best, fuelled the persistent efforts of the SIFF to emulate the globally standardized festival framework and redirect the global capital flow into its newly installed film market. On the other hand, the SIFF has been reluctant to use one of its most precious cultural legacies – the cosmopolitanism of the Republican era – as a branding resource. The main argument is that the weakened connection between the SIFF and its locality/cultural memory is not only a result of the superficial understanding of guojihua, but also of the fact that the central and the local government often hold conflicting ideas regarding the social engineering of Shanghai’s image.


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How to Cite

Ran, M. (2011) “Celebrating the International, Disremembering Shanghai: The Curious Case of the Shanghai International Film Festival”, Culture Unbound, 4(1), pp. 147–168. doi: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.124147.



Theme: Shanghai Modern: The Future in Microcosm?