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At Full Speed

Hong Kong Cinema in a Borderless World

2001

Esther C. M. Yau, editor

At Full Speed

An original and incisive account of one of the world’s most exciting cinemas.

Breathtaking swordplay and nostalgic love, Peking opera and Chow Yun-Fat’s cult followers-these are some of the elements of the vivid and diverse urban imagination that find form and expression in the thriving Hong Kong cinema. All receive their due in At Full Speed, a volume that captures the remarkable range and energy of a cinema that borrows, invents, and reinvents across the boundaries of time, culture, and conventions.

Contributors: Jinsoo An, David Bordwell, Rey Chow, Steve Fore, Elaine Yee-Lin Ho, Law Kar (Lau Yiu-kuen), Kwai-cheung Lo, Linda Lai Chiu-han, Gina Marchetti, Hector Rodriguez, Bhaskar Sarkar, Marc Siegel, Stephen Teo.

Esther Yau’s timely anthology of writings on recent Hong Kong cinema, At Full Speed, is essential. An impressive collection.

Journal of Asian Studies

Breathtaking swordplay and nostalgic love, Peking opera and Chow Yun-Fat’s cult followers-these are some of the elements of the vivid and diverse urban imagination that find form and expression in the thriving Hong Kong cinema. All receive their due in At Full Speed, a volume that captures the remarkable range and energy of a cinema that borrows, invents, and reinvents across the boundaries of time, culture, and conventions.

At Full Speed gathers film scholars and critics from around the globe to convey the transnational, multilayered character that Hong Kong films acquire and impart as they circulate worldwide. These writers scrutinize the films they find captivating: from the lesser known works of Law Man and Yuen Wo-ping to such film festival notables as Stanley Kwan and Wong Kar-wai, and from the commercial action, romance, and comedy genres of Jackie Chan, Peter Chan, Stephen Chiau, Tsui Hark, John Woo, and Derek Yee to the attempted departures of Evans Chan, Ann Hui, and Clara Law.

In this cinema the contributors identify an aesthetics of action, gender-flexible melodramatic excesses, objects of nostalgia, and globally projected local history and identities, as well as an active critical film community. Their work, the most incisive account ever given of one of the world’s largest film industries, brings the pleasures and idiosyncrasies of Hong Kong cinema into clear close-up focus even as it enlarges on the relationships between art and the market, cultural theory and the movies.

Contributors: Jinsoo An; David Bordwell, U of Wisconsin, Madison; Rey Chow, Brown U; Steve Fore, City U of Hong Kong; Elaine Yee-Lin Ho, Hong Kong U; Linda Chiu-han Lai, City U of Hong Kong; Law Kar (Lau Yiu-kuen); Kwai-cheung Lo, Hong Kong Baptist U; Gina Marchetti, Ithaca College; Hector Rodriguez, City U of Hong Kong; Bhaskar Sarkar, UC Santa Barbara; Marc Siegel; and Stephen Teo.

Esther C. M. Yau is associate professor of film and new media at Occidental College.

At Full Speed

Esther Yau’s timely anthology of writings on recent Hong Kong cinema, At Full Speed, is essential. An impressive collection.

Journal of Asian Studies

At Full Speed represents a sterling contribution to the area of Hong Kong cinema studies. An indispensable text.

Film Quarterly

With strong essays taking a variety of current approaches (on star figures such as Jackie Chan, on feminist and queer readings across films, and especially the considerable attention paid to audience and reception studies), and with its richly specific contributions surveying the spectrum of the field, Yau’s text is a model for books on national cinema.

Canadian Literature

At Full Speed

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Hong Kong Cinema in a Borderless World Esther C. M. Yau

Part I. Hong Kong's New Wave Cinema

1. An Overview of Hong Kong's New Wave Cinema Law Kar
2. The Emergence of the Hong Kong New Wave Hector Rodriguez

Part ll. In Action: Entertainment, Aesthetics, and Reinventions

3. Aesthetics in Action: Kungfu, Gunplay, and Cinematic Expressivity David Bordwell
4. The Killer: Cult Film and Transcultural (Mis)Reading Jinsoo An
5. Life Imitates Entertainment: Home and Dislocation in the Films of Jackie Chan Steve Fore
6. Tsui Hark: National Style and Polemic Stephen Teo
7. Hong Kong Hysteria: Martial Arts Tales from a Mutating World Bhaskar Sarkar
8. Women on the Edges of Hong Kong Modernity: The Films of Ann Hui Elaine Yee-lin Ho

Part III. A Culture of Disappearance: Nostalgia, Nonsense, and Dislocation

9. A Souvenir of Love Rey Chow
10. Film and Enigmatization: Nostalgia, Nonsense, and Remembering Linda Chiu-han Lai
11. Transnational Exchanges, Questions of Culture, and Global Cinema: Defining the Dynamics of Changing Relationships Gina Marchetti
12. Transnationalization of the Local in Hong Kong Cinema of the 1990s Kwai-cheung Lo
13. The Intimate Spaces of Wong Kar-wai Marc Siegel

Glossary
Selected Bibliography
Esther C. M. Yau
Contributors
Index