Peter Ho-Sun Chan’s He’s a Woman, She’s a Man
ISBN : 978-962-209-970-8
164 pages, 5.5″ x 7.5″
This raucous, gender-stretching comedy follows the disruptions of a glamorous Hong Kong music couple’s tumultuous romance by an “ordinary” fan’s noisy arrival in their lives. With great comic story development, the film confronts social stereotypes of masculine females, male anxieties about homosexuality, and the limits of male femininity. This book offers important background on comedic narrative structure in Cantonese opera and other traditional sources that have influenced Hong Kong cinema.
“Stokes offers a cogent and meticulous discussion of Peter Chan’s hit film especially in the areas of gender politics, craftsmanship, and commercialization of images. Its many insights enrich our understanding not only of Chan’s film but also of Hong Kong cinema in a particular historical period. Wing’s mistaken identity and Sam’s identity crisis can be read as the comic play or suspense that turns the established order upside down, which allegorizes (post)colonial Hong Kong.” —K. C. Lo, Hong Kong Baptist University
“Stokes locates the film in a context of generic and intellectual predecessors, illustrates the art and science of its construction, evaluates its political invitations or self-inoculations, illuminates the stardom of Leslie Cheung in the twilight of a British Hong Kong, and reflects as participant-observer on audience receptions of the film. The film is examined as a social text, a work of art, an historical document and a living specimen of culture-writing through the voices of the researcher, the critic, the theorist, and the fan, addressing the reader as intelligent movie-goer and curious cineaste. All of the above, as well as the lucid writing, work together to make this a seductive textbook and a compelling title for pleasure reading.” —Suzie S. F. Young, York University, Toronto