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John Woo, I argue, is one in a special, almost meta-sense: He understood the idea of authorship and crafted his public image, as well as his films, around certain themes Christianity, heroic self-sacrifice and stylistic choices most visibly, flying pistoleros. Wong Jing is a bit meta- too, in the way that Mel Brooks is a parodic auteur. The evocative, fragmentary shots of Carina Lau Ka-ling clutching at her horse are replaced by one of Law Kar-ying caressing a cow.
The results are in the book, but here are some photos commemorating the encounters. She looks as happy as he is. For a further note on Wong, check the bottom of this entry. My longest stay in Hong Kong was during the spring of Doing research for PHK , I interviewed several people. On the wall in the left still you see posters for Naked Killer , , and other genre classics. Soon he was to go on to Storm Riders and eventually to the Infernal Affairs trilogy Next door, Wong Jing also talked with me.
He had several TV screens facing him, one with video games, and you can see his console front and center on his desk. Another busy man, Peter Chan Ho-sun, had become an important director of contemporary comedies and dramas e. I met him in and brought him to Madison in ; below, a photo from Even more prolific, and less easy to categorize, is Herman Yau Lai-to—DP, rock-and-roller, and director of everything from grossout horror The Ebola Syndrome , to harsh social critique From the Queen to the Chief Executive , ; Whispers and Moans , How could you not learn a lot about filmmaking craft from a guy who had directed over fifty movies and been DP on thirty-five more?
I met some directors from the older generation too. And there was Ng See-yuen, another local legend. Two of the high points were my interviews with major figures of the Hong Kong New Wave of the s, both still going strong in Ann Hui was warm and generous with her time; she visited Madison that year with Summer Snow and other films.
The picture below is from Then there was my several-hour talk with Tsui Hark at the Film Workshop headquarters. After , I looked in on some other filmmakers. Here he is with his family on the Peak. Since I started blogging, I have put my best or rather the least amateurish shots online.
So for more snaps, you can rummage through the category, Festivals: Hong Kong. And now for something not quite completely different. Wong Kar-wai presents a jerky slow-motion shot of her leaving the crime scene and dodging out of the frame. It freezes on her, at a moment that yields a perversely unreadable image.
A shot of this frame would have been mud in the black-and-white pages of the book and probably not much better in the color pdf. In any case, for obsessives like me, I reproduce the frozen frame here. A fourth, a portfolio of photos of Hong Kong stars, is here.
The next entry is concerned with directors, and the final one focuses on film festivals, with a list of a few more of my favorites. For a long time film academics lived in a realm apart from film fans. But over the last decade or so, the borders have been dissolving. More strikingly, they have joined their ranks. Michael Campi, fan, and Chris Berry, aca-fan. Hong Kong International Film Festival, My generation of s film academics looked down what were then called film buffs, the FOOFs Fans of Old Films , and the star-gazers who dwelled in Gollywood.
We were going to make film studies serious. We over-succeeded. Actually, many of us were fans without admitting it. Many of my peers were shameless fans of Ford, Hitchcock, Fuller, et al. Is the appeal of the auteur theory a form of fannery? Still, things seem qualitatively different now. I think that the Internet, the arrival of new generations brought up on tentpole movies and HBO, and a boredom with the Big Theory that cast its spell over official film studies, hastened the arrival of what Jenkins has called the Aca-Fan.
The Aca-Fan is a researcher immersed in fan culture without a trace of guilt or condescension. Look on a bookshelf and you might also find a few Simpsons or Buffy action figures. The emergence of aca-fans lends support to the idea that today geek culture is simply the culture. Irresistibly drawn to Hong Kong films the story is in the preface to PHK , I soon found myself in one pulsing zone of fan culture. If you wanted to know something about this tradition in the late s and early s, your options were limited. There were the annual catalogues published by the Hong Kong International Film Festival, but they were hard to find overseas.
Virtually no Western scholars had studied this popular cinema, and the occasional pieces in Sight and Sound , Film Comment , Positif , and Cahiers du cinema made you want more. That more was often delivered by the fans.
They were a mixed lot: followers of the splice-ridden s martial-arts imports that played in hollowed-out downtown theatres; lovers of Godzilla, Ultraman, and Sonny Chiba who saw Hong Kong as another wild and crazy cinema; big-city cinephiles who sought out recent imports at the local Chinatown house; fanboys and —girls in flyover country renting videotapes from Asian food shops and crafts stores.
While Internet 1. Designing pages with good old Xerox and cut-and-paste, they created magazines. Soon DIY Asian movie zines burst forth in gaudy profusion and gave the copy shops of the world a new clientele. The early production values recalled high-school poetry magazines, with ragged right margins and nearly illegible illustrations, but the content was compelling. An early entrant was the mimeographed M. Lurid covers enclosed newsprint pages jammed with information, opinion, tawdry gossip, and pictures jaggedly assaulting text.
It was a far-flung community. France had Cine. Some of these became fan magazines—professional magazines aimed at fans—as opposed to fanzines, magazines made by fans. The HK ones paralleled those devoted to anime, fantasy and science-fiction, and other realms of fandom.
The fanzines were a rehearsal for the writerly gambits that would be played out high-speed on the web. Although wordage was costly in a print mag, an article could be as garrulous as a blog today. If you found it interesting, then I am glad. Within trembling VHS images, reduced to mere smears of color by redubbing, the writers glimpsed paradise. I would read the zines for opinion-mongering, harsh or rhapsodic, and data delivery. Apart from pictures, usually of attractive women in swimsuits, the fanzines provided reviews always with a ranking, usually numerical , interviews, and filmographies.
There were lots of lists too; where is our Nick Hornby to commemorate the compulsive listmaking of this gang?
Texas for Newcomers: Snapshots of Heroes, written by a Texan, proud of his heritage, portrays the passion of Texas history in the form of a family album with. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. John Wilhite is a native son of Texas who has lived on three continents and has travelled all over the world from a very.
Fandom is as canon-compulsive as any academic area, and as meticulous. As I discuss in PHK , upper-tier journalists usually learned of s Hong Kong cinema from a parallel route, the festivals that began screening the films, usually as midnight specials.
Critics, particularly David Chute in a issue of Film Comment , acted as an early warning system too. Meanwhile, the fans were amassing documentation. Charles, a Canadian who wrote for many zines, has been a contributor to Video Watchdog , another generous source of Hong Kong data from the s to the present.
Clyde Gentry III explained. Once the canon was established, once everyone had reviewed the standard items and interviewed Michelle Yeoh, agitprop was no longer needed. In the hands of Stefan Hammond, Mike Wilkins, Chuck Stephens, Howard Hampton, and other skilled writers, fan enthusiasm blended with turbocharged prose to bring the news to a broad audience in search of offbeat cinema.
Soon, the Internet created a new era in fandom, with sites like alt-asian. The Mobius Home Video Forum became a robust conversation space devoted to Asian film, and other forums sprang up, most maintaining the old zest for discovery, unexpected information, controversy, and nostalgia. At Mobius the perennial topic, So what have you been watching lately?