Published on January 25, 2008
Slide1: Hong Kong: Transnational Action Cinema Hong Kong Film Culture: 1960s and 1970s: Hong Kong Film Culture: 1960s and 1970s Film Societies: which showed avant-garde and art films. Film Co-operatives: enabled the production of low-budget short films and feature films. annual Experimental Film Competition 1973- (John Woo an early winner) Film Magazines: containing film analysis of local and overseas film. 1976 Close Up Film Review 1979 Film Biweekly Film Festivals Hong Kong International Film Festival (1977) Hong Kong New Wave: Hong Kong New Wave 1979: a Hong New Wave identified in film magazines like Film Biweekly. John Woo, Tsui Hark, Patrick Tam, Ann Hui, Allen Fong. New Wave filmmakers did not share a common aesthetic or visual style. They shared an interest in technical and aesthetic experimentation, an urban sensibility, and an auteurist belief in filmmaking as a mode of personal expression. Hong Kong: Colonial City/ Global City: Hong Kong: Colonial City/ Global City 1841 Hong Kong established as a British Colony 1941-45 Occupied by Japan 1984 Signing of Sino-British Joint Declaration to return Hong Kong to China in 1997 1997 Hong Kong becomes a Special Administrative Region of China Martial Arts Genres: wuxia pian: Martial Arts Genres: wuxia pian Wuxia pian (Mandarin term): swordplay (wuxia) films (pian) feature the mythic figure of the xia or wandering swordsman (who often comes into conflict with authorities and the law) influenced by Japanese samurai or chanbara sword-fight film (Golden Age: mid-1950s to mid-1960s) 2 periods of popularity: 1960s (Shaw Brothers Studio/ King Hu) and early 1990s (Tsui Hark) Hong Kong - Japanese Connection: Hong Kong - Japanese Connection 1951: Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950) wins Golden Lion Award at Venice International Film Festival 1954: Shichinin no samurai/ Seven Samurai (Akira Kuroswawa, 1954) - opened up the distribution of Japanese film in Hong Kong “interaction between the Japanese and Hong Kong action cinemas mainly occurred on a one-way basis before the release of Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon (1973)”. See Kinnia Yau Shuk-ting, “Interactions Between Japanese and Hong Kong Action Cinema,” in Hong Kong Connections: Transnational Imagination in Hong Kong Action Cinema, eds. Meaghan Morris et. al. Major Studios: Major Studios Shaw Brothers: 1958-86: Mandarin wuxia pian 1970s: Kung fu, comedies, sexploitation films, horror 3 Hammer co-productions (including Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires, 1974) Golden Harvest: founded 1970/ signed Bruce Lee in 1971 Bruce Lee: The Big Boss/ Fists of Fury [U.S. title] (1972) The Way of the Dragon/ The Return of the Dragon [U.S. title] (1972) Enter the Dragon (Co-production with Warner Brothers, 1973) Martial Arts Genres: Kung Fu: Martial Arts Genres: Kung Fu Kung fu (Cantonese term): unarmed combat films: feature a martial arts hero (and traditionally, his relationship to his teacher or sifu) Mandarin films starring Bruce Lee (Golden Harvest Studio) are enormously popular in the early 1970s re-emerges in the mid-1980s in the form of Cantonese kung fu comedy (Jackie Chan) Peking Opera: Peking Opera “The contents of the Chinese theatrical art are best represented by and summarized in the two terms sigong and wufa, literally the “Four Arts” and the “Five Skills”. Four Arts: singing, reciting, choreographic movements, and martial and acrobatic arts. Many stars of martial arts cinema (including Jackie Chan) trained as Peking Opera performers. Many directors and martial arts choreographers similarly began as opera directors/ choreographers (e.g. Yuen Wo-Ping). Peking Opera: Peking Opera Yung Sai-Shing: the “principle of highlighting the action/body of the actors has “moved” from the traditional opera stage to the contemporary action cinema. To a certain extent, the visual concentration on the body in motion in Hong Kong action cinema is a continuation and extension of Chinese theatrical aesthetics.” See “Moving Body: The Interactions Between Chinese Opera and Action Cinema,” in Hong Kong Connections Slide11: Wong Fei Hung/ Once Upon A Time In China (Tsui Hark,1991) Siu nin Wong Fei Hung ji: Tit Ma Lau/ Iron Monkey (Yuen Wo-Ping, 1993) David Bordwell: “Aesthetics in Action”: David Bordwell: “Aesthetics in Action” The norms for shooting action sequences have been designed to maximise legibility: the body is at the centre of the mise-en-scène: physical contact is not elided but shown emphasises the physical and technical virtuosity of the martial artist gestural clarity is emphasised by the use of long shots and medium long shots intercut with closer views of a detail of the action. physical action follows a pause-burst-pause pattern that emphasises each instant of the action. Questions for Further Discussion I: Questions for Further Discussion I Day Wong has interviewed a number of women ranging in age from 25 to 50 and found that they overwhelmingly prefer films starring Jackie Chan to films starring Bruce Lee. Suggest some possible reasons for this. “Women’s Reception of Mainstream Hong Kong Cinema,” in Masculinities and Hong Kong Cinema, eds. Laikwan Pang and Day Wong Questions for Further Discussion II: Questions for Further Discussion II Describe the construction of an ‘abstract China’ in Drunken Master II. What kinds of ideas, fantasies, and desires is it appealing to?