East Asian Cinemas: Regional Flows and Global by Vivian P.Y. Lee

By Vivian P.Y. Lee

This ebook is an unique quantity of essays that sheds new and important gentle on present and rising filmmaking tendencies and practices in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea. A well timed and demanding contribution to current scholarship within the box.

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10 As for translingual filmmaking, Hou’s Café Lumière and Flight of the Red Balloon as well as Tsai’s Visage may pose challenging questions about national cinema and film historiography given that they are all (co-)produced by studios and institutions beyond Taiwan and are not made in any of the Chinese languages. Can they claim to be part of Taiwan cinema or will they be included in Japanese and French film histories, and in what discursive terms? This set of questions could similarly be posed for the English-language films of John Woo, Ang Lee, and other East Asian directors who have made films in Hollywood.

11 in 1985 to No. 6 in 1998. 36 Hollywood’s Global Strategy Cinema is one of the most international media industries and the history of the American film industry aptly reflects its global character. Hollywood producers were already setting up offices in overseas markets in the 1910s. 6 From 1919 onward, overseas box-office estimates were factored into Hollywood’s production budgets. Since the 1930s, one-third to one-half of the film industry’s total revenue came from overseas markets. Arguably, the two World Wars and their aftermath contributed to the global hegemony of the American cinema that has remained unchallenged ever since.

In a similar vein, Hollywood has been courting East Asian directors, particularly those with a track record of making popular genre films that have achieved box office success in East Asia. John Woo is one of the first contemporary East Asian directors to have made the transpacific journey, thanks partly to American connoisseurs of cult East Asian films such as Quentin Tarantino acting as a “gatekeeper” (Hunt 2008) for the influx of East Asian influences into Hollywood. While Woo’s early career in Hollywood seems to consist of reproducing the kind of cop thrillers that cemented his reputation in Hong Kong cinema as star vehicles for Jean-Claude van Damme in Hard Target (1993) and John Travolta and Nicholas Cage in Face/Off (1997), Woo hit the big time, in 2000, with the blockbuster, Mission Impossible II, starring Tom Cruise.

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