All posts tagged: Kashgar

Ms. Munirä’s Wedding Gifts: Trolling Uyghur Elite Society

For those without access to YouTube, the film is also available here at Critical Commons. Co-written with Aynur Kadir, PhD Candidate, Simon Fraser University Back in April 2016 the daughter of a well-to-do Uyghur border official in Kashgar, a woman known now simply as Ms. Munirä, got married. Like many weddings of wealthy Uyghurs, it was an ostentatious affair. Since Uyghur weddings are often seen as the joining of two families, it is important that each family demonstrates their wealth and prestige. One of the key moments of this demonstration is when the bride wealth which is given to the bride’s family by the groom’s family is announced to the attendees of the wedding at a party that proceeds the wedding called a “big tea” (or chong chay). In many cases this is a low-key affair. But in some cases, as in Ms. Munirä’s case, it takes on the appearance of luxury product exhibition. In an extravaganza such as this, an announcer called a “box opener” (snaduq echish) proclaims to all in attendance what has …

The Edge of the Bazaar, A Documentary About Uyghur Rural Life

One of the emerging trends among young Uyghur film directors is a new attention to documentary filmmaking. This approach has long been a part of Uyghur cinema, but previously it was often part of a larger public relations presentation sponsored by the Chinese Culture Ministry. These new documentary short films are independently produced on limited budgets by young filmmakers who have an intimate knowledge of their subjects. Part of the new emphasis on documentaries is due to the increasing affordability of cameras, lenses, and digital editing software. Another element is the way the expanding Uyghur and Chinese Internet has made forms of international and national documentary – from Werner Herzog and Lucien Castaing-Taylor to Wu Wenguang and the New Chinese Documentary Film Movement – more accessible to film students in Xinjiang. But perhaps an even more important factor is the way students from the rural countryside are seeing more and more of the way-of-life they grew up around vanish before their eyes. It was these elements that prompted the young student filmmakers Abdukadir Upur and Dilmurat Tohti to …

Ablajan Channels “The Fast and The Furious” Kashgar-Style

Ablajan Awut Ayup is trending again in Uyghur cyberspace. Uyghur Weixin and popular social media sites like Misranim are amping-up Ablajan’s meteoric rise in Uyghur pop culture. This time it’s not just his highly orchestrated K-pop-style dance-ensemble performances, his catchy rhymes and bad-boy persona. Ablajan is crossing over. China, meet A-bo-la-jiang. In October the pop star released his first official Mandarin-language music video. It is epic. Starting from the top of an Ürümchi tower, Ablajan, his gang of slick Uyghur urbanites, his girl and his wingman, the rapper McKelly, take us on a car chase through Xinjiang cityscapes. Although the song itself is a fairly straightforward lyric of unrequited love and a playboy scared-straight, the imagery, like Bieber’s 2012 epic music video, is reappropriated from Hollywood car movies and Michael Jackson dance videos. After plotting the way the song, titled “Today,” has been transformed in its journey from Uyghur to Chinese, I will point out some of the key moments in the video when echoes of Beiber and Jackson emerge in a Uyghur imaginary. The Song In …