Screening Communities: Negotiating Narratives of Empire, Nation, and the Cold War in Hong Kong Cinema by Jing Jing Chang


A Book Review by Tony Williams
Film International
Friday, May 24th, 2019

Hong Kong cinema studies has received detailed coverage over the decades in works written about specific periods and studios such as Shaw Bros and Cathay in addition to focus on various directors and stars. Since the beginning of the Hong Kong Film Festival (1976- ), accompanying catalogues provided information on topics such as Cantonese Opera, Melodrama, Mandarin language productions in addition to studies of the martial arts and swordsman films and the work of luminaries such as King Hu and Eileen Chang. Yet, one of the most sparsely covered periods so far in terms of books has been the immediate post-war era that saw the heyday of a particular form of Cantonese cinema, before its virtual eclipse by Mandarin productions until the re-emergence of revived Cantonese films in new forms (leading to Hong Kong’s own version of a “New Wave” before the handover year of 1997).

Jing Jing Chang’s study Screening Communities provides a well-documented and illuminating survey of a relatively little-known era for scholars who live outside Hong Kong and lack access to archives. . . .

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Image: In the Face of Demolition (1953)