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Asian Cinemas

A Reader and Guide

Edited by Dimitris Eleftheriotis, Gary Needham

Asian cinema is an area of increasing interest in Anglo-US film studies while Asian films are now widely distributed and popular with western audiences. The fascination with Asian cinema must be examined in the context of a complex and often problematic relationship between western scholars, students, viewers and Asian films. This book, therefore, examines a number of detailed case studies (such as the films of Ozu, Bruce Lee, Hong Kong and Turkish cinema, Hindi melodramas, Godzilla films, Taiwanese directors and Fifth Generation Chinese cinema) and uses them in order to investigate the limitations of Anglo-US theoretical models and critical paradigms. By engaging the readers with familiar areas of critical discourse (such as postcolonial criticism, 'national cinema', 'genre', 'authorship' and 'stardom') the book aims to introduce within such contexts the 'unfamiliar' case studies which will be explored in depth and detail. The advantage of such an approach is that it works with the dynamics of familiarity/unfamiliarity and resists the temptation to construct Asian cinemas as a gallery of exotic objects that might be particularly fascinating but remain deeply distant and foreign.


  • A comprehensive study of Asian cinemas, including Hong Kong, Japan, China, India, Turkey and Taiwan
  • An accessible guide for the study and research of Asian cinema which addresses undergraduate and postgraduate students and researchers
  • Each section contains a contextualising introduction
  • Includes key texts by Ackbar Abbas, Rey Chow, David Desser, Dimitris Eleftheriotis, Nezih Erdo


Notes on contributors
Introduction, Dimitris Eleftheriotis
Part I: Approaching Asian Cinemas
Section 1 Orientalism and Japanese Cinema
Japanese cinema and orientalism, Gary Needham
1. A filmmaker for all seasons, David Desser
2. The difficulty of being radical: the discipline of film studies and the postcolonial world order, Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto
3. Godzilla and the Japanese nightmare: when Them! is U.S., Chon Noriega
4. Monster island: Godzilla and Japanese sci-fi/horror/fantasy, Philip Brophy
Section 2 Colonial Encounters, Post-colonial Criticism and Hong Kong Cinema
The post-colonial Hong Kong cinema, Gary Needham
5. The new Hong Kong cinema and the déjà disparu, Ackbar Abbas
6. Kung Fu: negotiating nationalism and modernity, Siu Leung Li
7. Under 'Western eyes': the personal odyssey of Huang Fei-Hong in Once upon a Time in China, Tony Williams
Section 3 Cross-Cultural Criticism and Chinese Cinema
Cross-cultural criticism and Chinese cinema, Dimitris Eleftheriotis
8. Problematizing cross-cultural analysis: the case of women in the recent Chinese cinema, E. Ann Kaplan
9. Seeing modern China: toward a theory of ethnic spectatorship, Rey Chow
10. Yellow Earth: Western analysis and a non-Western text, Esther Yau
Part II: Frameworks of Study
Section 4 National Cinema: The Case of Turkey
Turkish national cinema, Dimitris Eleftheriotis
11. Narratives of resistance: national identity and ambivalence in the Turkish melodrama between
1965 and 1975 229, Nezih Erdog¡an
12. Translating modernity: remakes in Turkish cinema, Ahmet Gürata
13. Mute bodies, disembodied voices: notes on sound in Turkish popular cinema, Nezih Erdog¡an
Section 5 Genre Criticism and Popular Indian Cinema
Genre criticism and popular Indian cinema, Dimitris Eleftheriotis
14. Indian cinema: pleasures and popularity, Rosie Thomas
15. Addressing the spectator of a 'third world' national cinema: the Bombay 'social' film of the 1940s and 1950s, Ravi S. Vasudevan
16. 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun?' - cinephilia and Indian films, Lalitha Gopalan
17. Shifting pitch: The Bollywood Song sequence in the Anglo-American market, Ian Garwood
Section 6 Questions of Authorship and Taiwanese Cinema
Film authorship and Taiwanese cinema, Gary Needham and I-Fen Wu
18. Ozu and the colonial encounter in Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Gary Needham
19. Tokyo love story and NY bagels: East-West cultural encounter in Edward Yang's Taipei Story, I-Fen Wu
20. The transnational cinema of Ang Lee, Julianne Pidduck
Section 7 Stardom: The Case of Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee: stardom and identity, Dimitris Eleftheriotis and Gary Needham
21. Bruce Lee: narcissus and the little dragon, Stephen Teo
22. Han's Island revisited: Enter the Dragon as transnational cult film, Leon Hunt
23. Fists of fury: discourses of race and masculinity in the martial arts cinema, Yvonne Tasker
Bibliography Index of films/TV programmes Index of key terms.

About the Author

Dimitris Eleftheriotis is a Reader in Film and Television Studies at the University of Glasgow. He has published widely on various aspects of European cinema, film theory and transnational cinema.

Gary Needham is Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies, Nottingham Trent University


The republishing of a number of important texts in this easily accessible collection is a valuable undertaking… One hopes that this volume will find its way into many university libraries and subsequently into the hands and heads of many students of Asian cinemas.
- Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television