Planet Hong Kong
Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment
By David Bordwell
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Since the 1970s, Hong Kong has been home to arguably the world's most energetic, imaginative mass-market film industry. At its peak, it surpassed nearly all Western countries in number of films released, ruled the East Asian market, and produced movies (ranging from John Woo's action pictures to the comic adventures of Jackie Chan) that have thrilled global audiences and attained cult status in the West. This book offers a deeply informed and highly engaging look at how Hong Kong cinema has become one of the success stories of film history, and how it has influenced international film culture and the development of film as a medium. As sentimental and outrageous as Hong Kong films can be, David Bordwell demonstrates that they are not merely crowd-pleasing; they harbor remarkable inventiveness and careful craftsmanship and in many cases rise to the level of a rich and delightful art. Bordwell surveys the historical conditions that fueled the rise of this cinema: the high output, shrewd entrepreneurship, changing world tastes, and a unique skill in action genres that cross cultural boundaries. Considering both the movies themselves and the bigger picture, he moves from deft and detailed analyses of many classics of this tradition to a broader assessment of the basic strategies and impulses of mass entertainment.