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Chinese Martial Arts Cinema

The Wuxia Tradition

Stephen Teo

Edition: 2

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Traces the development of contemporary martial arts cinema in China

This updated edition is a comprehensive, fully researched account of the historical and contemporary development of the traditional martial arts genre in the Chinese cinema known as wuxia (literal translation: martial chivalry) - a genre which became familiar to audiences around the world through the phenomenal 'crossover' hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). The book unveils rich layers of the wuxia tradition as it developed in the early Shanghai cinema in the late 1920s, and from the 1950s onwards, in the Hong Kong and Taiwan film industries.

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Part I: History and Development
1. Introduction
2. Wuxia from Literature to Cinema
3. Reactions against the Wuxia Genre
4. The Wuxia Genre Shifts Ground
5. The Rise of Kung Fu, from Wong Fei-hung to Bruce Lee
Part II: The New School and Beyond
6. The Rise of New School Wuxia
7. The Wuxia Films of King Hu
8. A Touch of Zen and the Moral Dilemma of the Female Knight-Errant
9. Wuxia after A Touch of Zen
10. Wuxia between Nationalism and Transnationalism
Works Cited.

About the Author

Stephen Teo is currently associate professor at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and a senior research associate of the RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of Hong Kong Cinema: The Extra Dimensions (British Film Institute, 1997), Wong Kar-wai (BFI, 2005), King Hu’s A Touch of Zen (Hong Kong University Press, 2006), and Director in Action: Johnnie To and the Hong Kong Action Film (Hong Kong University Press, 2007).


This book is a welcome addition to the flourishing literature on Chinese martial arts cinema.
- Ming-Yeh T. Rawnsley, University of Leeds, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television

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