Hong Kong's film industry gained global attention in the 1980s, at the time of negotiations over Great Britain's return of the colony to China. Uncertainty about the post-handover era accelerated Hong Kong's race for economic growth, and found expression in cinema's depictions of a 'city on fire.' In this accessible introduction to the ...
Hong Kong's film industry gained global attention in the 1980s, at the time of negotiations over Great Britain's return of the colony to China. Uncertainty about the post-handover era accelerated Hong Kong's race for economic growth, and found expression in cinema's depictions of a 'city on fire.' In this accessible introduction to the extraordinary cinematic output of the colony, Michael Hoover and Lisa Stokes review the directors and films that have established Hong Kong cinema internationally: John Woo's martial arts flicks, Tsui Hark's wire-worked fantasies, Ann Hui's exile melodramas, Stanley Kwan's limpid romances, and Wong Kar-wai's stylish art films.
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Publishers Weekly, 1999-08-16 The Hong Kong film industry of the '80s and early '90s produced a treasure trove of films. It made matinee idols of (among others) Chow Yun-Fat, Jackie Chan and Maggie Cheung, reinvented genres with style and generally beat the Hollywood dream factory at its own game with an "anything goes" attitude?despite tiny budgets and brief production schedules. Hoover and Stokes rightly consider the anxiety produced by the ticking clock to the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China as the key to this period of frenetic creativity. In the most serious study to date of Hong Kong cinema, the authors dutifully ground their account with social, political, economic and historical analysis. Sometimes they get a bit carried away, however: comparing a Harold Lloyd stunt to a Jackie Chan variant, the Lloyd version becomes emblematic of the ideal of upward mobility in the American 1920s, and Chan's tumble reflects how "Hong Kong's dollar fell during a run on the colony's currency in 1983." The abundance of quotes from Marx and Engels at times makes a cinema noted for its pure entertainment value sound dull and allegorical. Still, the book's extensive interviews with major HK players?and detailed coverage of the comedies and romances that have enjoyed less international exposure than the now famous action films of Chan and John Woo?are of outstanding interest. So tantalizing is the treatment of many of these obscure films that readers will scurry to the neighborhood video store in search of such charmingly translated titles as Tom, Dick, and Hairy and Shogun and Little Kitchen. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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