Main Melody Films

Hong Kong Directors in Mainland China

Stephen Yiu-Wai Chu

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Provides an in-depth study of Hong Kong directors’ participation in Chinese 'main-melody' blockbusters in the 2010s

  • Sheds light on the development of cross-border cooperation of Mainland and Hong Kong film industries, and general film studies regarding cross-cultural collaborations
  • Explores the move from Mainland-Hong Kong dichotomy, shifting the emphasis to cultural translations across the border
  • Helps researchers understand changing values in a new era of Chinese film production

Main melody films are propaganda works that pay tribute to the Chinese nation, the party and the army. Since the turn of the century, they have gradually developed into the main genre of Chinese cinema, and its "blockbusterization" is arguably the most phenomenal aspect of the 2010s Chinese film industry.

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Introduction: "Main(land) Melody Films" and Hong Kong Directors

1: How to Take Tiger Mountain? The Tsui Hark Model

2: Will Our Time Come? Ann Hui’s Fallen City

3: Hong Kong Dreams in China: The Leap of Peter Chan

4: Founding an Army with Soft Power: Captain Andrew Lau

5: Stepping to the Fore: Dante Lam’s Operation Trilogy

6: Underneath the Shock Waves: The (Un)told Stories of Herman Yau

7: Jumping on the Bandwagon: The Ensemble of Hong Kong Film Directors

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In a cultural realm where nationalist fervor and market incentives are intertwined, Chu spotlights the imprints of a versatile Hong Kong left by some of the city’s directors on Chinese main(land) melody films. Packed with lively details and narrated with zest, this book is an impressive record of these directors’ creative ventures in a vast new entertainment network.

Rey Chow, Duke University

This book, the third of the author’s trilogy on Hong Kong popular culture after 1997, is a timely intervention to delve into the mainland-Hong Kong cooperation in making main melody blockbuster films. The in-depth analysis of "north-bound" film directors such as Tsui Hark and Ann Hui brings to light their creative and at times ambiguous roles in bringing state propaganda to young audiences. This is an important book for understanding the developments of the former British colony’s film industry in the era of cross-border integration.

Po-Shek Fu, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Chu’s work brings a major development in Chinese cinema to broader attention and is exemplary in its reference to an impressive range of sources, which testify to a near encyclopaedic knowledge of China’s and especially Hong Kong’s cinematic output, as well as the rapidly increasing scholarship on these topics.

Kristof Van den Troost, China Perspectives
Professor Stephen Yiu-Wai Chu is Director and Professor of Hong Kong Studies Programme at Hong Kong University

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