Hong Kong Cinema

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Starting with the first "Western shadow plays" shown in the late 1890s, motion pictures have played a significant role in China's cultural existence for more than a century. Initially centered in Shanghai, Chinese cinema boomed in Hong Kong in the 1930s, aided by the advent of talkies and the influx of talent and investment from mainland China, Southeast Asia, and America. From the late 1940s, the territory supplanted Shanghai as the "Hollywood of China." In Hong Kong Cinema: A Cross-Cultural View, authors Law Kar and Frank Bren follow the story from Hong Kong's early silent, Chuang Tsi Tests His Wife, through the martial arts craze of the 1970s, to the medium's continued appeal to contemporary international audiences. Rather than provide a sweeping history, the authors focus on the impact of individual personalities, particularly local filmmakers and movie stars. They also consider Eastern and Western influences and examine major developments, including the changing role of women. By profiling key figures and events of the 20th century, this overview is the perfect introduction for anyone interested in Hong Kong's contribution to world cinema. Illustrated with photos.

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Editorial Reviews

China Quarterly
Law Kar and Frank Bren's Hong Kong Cinema: A Cross-Cultural View is a detailed historical overview of cinema in Hong Kong. Placing Hong Kong cinema in the larger Chinese and regional context, this book moves from the earliest appearances of cinema in China to the 1970s, or the period in which contemporary Hong Kong cinema was in gestation. The lists of archives and libraries consulted and newspapers scoured, along with the appendices of detail and fact attest to the authors' commitment to primary research. At the same time, the engaging narrative that they produce demonstrates their genuine enthusiasm for a cinema they clearly love very deeply. For scholars of Hong Kong cinema, this will be a most useful mine of information....this engagingly written and meticulously produced work does not deserve to be overlooked, and I am sure that those who turn to it will find it very rewarding.
...a readable and informative collaboration that explores Eastern and Western influences on Hong Kong cinema and Hong Kong's interaction with its markets in China and Southeast Asia....Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.
Reference and Research Book News
Focusing on the impact of individual personalities, Kar...and Bren...introduce readers to Hong Kong's contribution to world cinema across the 20th century. In particular they explore the period from the beginning of cinema itself in the 1890s to roughly the 1970s, because' it's the source of what is produced in Hong Kong today. Their work is less a formal history than a view and review of the Hong Kong story, told through the pioneers, film workers, studio tycoons, Cantonese opera superstar, and others who shaped it.
The Bookwatch
A highly readable account, Hong Kong Cinema is as enjoyable for the non-specialized general reader as it is for those in the film industry looking to flesh out their knowledge of the Hong Kong film industry.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810849860
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 10/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 396
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Law Kar is a programmer for the Hong Kong Film Archive. He has been a film critic, editor, and writer for stage, film, and television. Frank Bren is the author of a history of Polish cinema as well as various studies of Chinese modern history and drama for several international publications.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Foreward Part 2 Acknowledgments Part 3 Introduction Part 4 Part 1: East Meets West Chapter 5 1. Beyond the Peep Show: Movies Come to China Chapter 6 2. Ben Brodsky's China Chapter 7 3. The Pioneers Chapter 8 4. From America with Love: "Making This Colony the 'Hollywood of China'" Chapter 9 5. The Ester Eng Story Part 10 Part 2: North Meets South Chapter 11 6. Interflows between Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Guangzhou Chapter 12 7. Wartime Mobilization Chapter 13 8. Postwar and Postliberation Transitions Chapter 14 9. Into the Turbulent Sixties Part 15 Part 3: Border Crossings Chapter 16 10. Local versus Foreign: The Mainland and Overseas Chapter 17 11. Expansion in Nanyang—Shaw Brothers versus Cathay Chapter 18 12. Early Links with Asia Pacific Chapter 19 13. Further Foreign Collaborations Part 20 Part 4: Female Images Chapter 21 14. Songstress/Prostitute Chapter 22 15. Good Wife/Heroic Mother Chapter 23 16. Sweet Birds of Youth Chapter 24 17. The Majors Groom and the New Breed Chapter 25 18. Wild, Wicked, and Sexy Part 26 Part 5: East versus West Chapter 27 19. The Modern Age Chapter 28 20. Finale Part 29 Appendixes Chapter 30 1. Early Film Exhibition in Hong Kong and China Chapter 31 2. Some Early Hong Kong Film Venues Chapter 32 3. An Incomplete List of Early Film Production in Hong Kong and Mainland China: 1896-1908 Chapter 33 4. Full Text of the Account of an Early Film Show in Qi Garden, Published in Youxi Bao on September 5, 1897 Chapter 34 5. Benjamin Brodsky Filmography Chapter 35 6. Hong Kong Release Years of California-Based Grandview's Feature Film Productions of 1941-1945 Chapter 36 7. Film Production in Hong Kong, 1957-1970 Chapter 37 8. Notes on Terms and Names Part 38 Bibliography Part 39 Film Index Part 40 General Index Part 41 Personal Names Index

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