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March 2000, Week 2


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Deidre Thieman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 8 Mar 2000 17:13:55 -0600
text/plain (52 lines)

A bit of a lengthy reply to your request for HK cinema book suggestions...

1. The Asian Film Industry by: John A. Lent - one of the first books on the subject.  It was published in 1990 and is somewhat dated, but gives a good industry background and overview.  ISBN 0-292-70422-4

2. City on Fire: Hong Kong Cinema by: Lisa Odham Stokes and Michael Hoover - a more scholarly approach to the subject.  This is the most current I know of.  Well researched, but fails to capture the excitement traditionally associated with HK films.  ISBN 1-85984-716-1

And then there are the less academic versions, which still contain useful information at times...

3. Sex and Zen & A Bullet in the Head by: Stefan Hammond & Mike Wilkins- made for the novice HK film watcher.  Intro to the major players and the major films.  Not comprehensive, but when I started researching the topic, this is what I began with.  1996   ISBN 0-684-80341-0

For simple plot summaries and reviews:

4. Asian Cult Cinema by: Thomas Weisser - useful for director and star filmographies.  1997  ISBN 1-57297-228-9

5. Hong Kong Babylon by: Frederic Dannen and Barry Long - contains selected interviews and filmographies, plot summaries and recommended viewing from 12 critics.  1997.  ISBN 0-7868-6267-X

Out of all of them, I'd say City on Fire is most appropriate for a textbook, but the others may help you prepare the course.

Also, if you're intending to include comedic action films, you might also want to consider Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung who both star and direct great comedic action films as autuers.  I wouldn't consider Stanley Tong an autuer.  He's not recognized for characteristic style like the others you've mentioned.

Another good resource is the newsgroup alt.asian-movies.  If takes a while to get used to the rhythm of the group, but they're full of recommendations about what versions to watch and the most current information about new releases.

Finally, there are a ton of good articles on HK action films as crises cinema.  They explore the idea that Heroic Bloodshed films were a reaction to the impending return of HK to Chinese control in greater depth than the books do.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but someone's finally hit on a topic near and dear to my heart.

Deidre Thieman

Simon Sigley wrote:

> I'm preparing a course on Hong Kong action cinema for the Summer School at Auckland University. This is the first time I've done such a thing and would appreciate any suggestions you might make. I'm thinking of taking an 'auteurist' approach, looking at the work of Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam and John Woo. Does anybody know if Stanley Tong falls into that category? Is there anybody else? The city itself would obviously play some role inasmuch as it's an enclosed place, both geographically, in being 'cut-off' from the mainland and physically, in that there's not much open ground in Hong Kong. Does anybody know of any recent books on this cinema?
> Many thanks,
> Simon Sigley
> Centre for Film, TV & Media Studies
> University of Auckland
> Aotearoa/New Zealand
> ----
> Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite

Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite