Postcolonialism, Diaspora, and Alternative Histories

The Cinema of Evans Chan


Edited by Tony Williams

ISBN : 978-988-8208-16-6

Film, Media, Fine Arts

May 2015

200 pages, 6″ x 9″, 32 color illus.

  • HK$590.00

This volume offers the first comprehensive survey of the cinema of Evans Chan, a New York–based playwright, author, and filmmaker whose acclaimed films include To Liv(e), The Map of Sex and Love, and Datong. In this collection of essays on Chan’s documentary and feature films seven experts on cultural and film studies examine the unique blending of fictional representation, historical investigation, and critical essayism that characterize Chan’s oeuvre. They discuss how Chan’s work brings out the contradictory nature of the distant and recent past through his exploration of Hong Kong’s rapid transformation before and after reunification with China in 1997. The volume concludes with an interview with Evans Chan on his work to date and includes two DVDs containing five of his most important films.

The book will appeal to scholars and students who are interested in China and Hong Kong cinema, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, and diaspora studies.

Tony Williams is a professor and area head of film studies in the Department of English, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He is the author of John Woo’s Bullet in the Head (2009) and editor of George A. Romero: Interviews (2011).

“Covering a broad range of topics and issues that shed light on the aesthetic, sociopolitical and intellectual dimensions of Chan’s work, the individual chapters contribute to a collective reflection on the formal qualities of Chan’s cinematic art, in particular his creative use of the film essay as a mode of artistic expression. The essays have sought out the latent aesthetic and intellectual impulses that inform Chan’s cinematic vision.” —Vivian Lee, author of Hong Kong Cinema Since 1997: The Post-Nostalgic Imagination

“This fascinating anthology is a much-needed examination of Chan’s eminent yet underappreciated cinema. The volume illuminates his filmmaking from a number of angles, enriching our understanding of his complex engagement with Chinese politics, history, and the essay film. Capped by a comprehensive interview with Chan himself, this indispensable volume does full justice to one of Hong Kong’s most literate and literary filmmakers.” —Gary Bettinson, author of The Sensuous Cinema of Wong Kar-wai and editor of the journal Asian Cinema

“Evans Chan has made a singular contribution to Hong Kong cinema and at the same time a major contribution to the whole spectrum of contemporary film-making. His work achieves a seamless blend of fact and fiction to produce an innovative kind of essayistic cinema, driven equally by issues and by his own experiences and perceptions. He draws on everything from literature and political studies to journalism and social-activist campaigns for his subjects—and on everything from film history to performance art for his images. Best of all, he’s rigorously non-conformist: he asks the awkward questions, probes the areas of sensitivity and challenges orthodoxies at every turn.”—Tony Rayns, film-maker, critic and festival programmer