Irma Vep (1996) screening, discussion, and book launch of Vulgar Beauty

Closeup of Maggie Cheung performing as Maggie smiling broadly and Nathalie Richard as Zoé behind her looking downward, a still from Olivier Assayas' 1996 film Irma Vep, advertised as screening for free on Sept 15, 7pm at Robson Square, followed by a discussion with UBC film scholar Dr. Mila Zuo, author of Vulgar Beauty.

The Public Humanities Hub and UBC Connects at Robson Square present a free screening of Olivier Assayas meta-cinematic masterpiece, Irma Vep (France, 1996), starring global Hong Kong superstar Maggie Cheung. The screening will be accompanied by a talk and discussion led by Dr Mila Zuo, whose new book, Vulgar Beauty: Acting Chinese in the Global Sensorium (Duke University Press, 2022), looks at how the charisma of Asian women film stars, including Cheung, shifts when placed in a transnational context. All are welcome also to discuss how the film engages with issues of nationality, gender, race, and cinematic history in its story of a director trying desperately to remake Louis Feuillades classic silent film, Les Vampires (1915-1916). The event, which will be hosted by Dr Danielle Wong, is part of the Cinema Thinks The World project, a series of 12 screenings and discussions held between UBC and the Cinematheque.


Mila Zuo is an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre and Film at UBC. Her research areas include transnational Asian cinemas; film-philosophy; abject epistemologies; star studies; digital and new media; and critical theories of gender, sexuality, and race and ethnicity. Her book Vulgar Beauty: Acting Chinese in the Global Sensorium (Duke University Press, 2022) focuses on the affective racialization of Chinese women film stars, demonstrating the ways which vulgar, flavourful beauty disrupts Western and colonial notions of beauty. In addition to her scholarly work, Zuo writes, directs, and produces narrative films, visual essays, documentaries, and music videos. Her short films have screened in international film festivals and universities, including Carnal Orient (2016) which premiered at Slamdance Film Festival, and her short narrative film Kin (2021), which was the recipient of the 2019 Oregon Media Arts Fellowship, and screened at HollyShorts Film Festival.

Cinema Thinks the World” is sponsored by the Public Humanities Hub at the University of British Columbia. Through a series of public screenings, panel talks, and discussions, it aims to explore the ways in which global cinema represents and helps us to think about the world.

Thursday, September 15, 2022
6:30 – 7:00 PM – Light reception
7:00 – 10:00 PM – Screening and discussion
Robson Square
800 Robson Street, Vancouver BC V6Z 3B7

Co-sponsored by UBC Connects at Robson Square and the Public Humanities Hub.