Books on Asian Film

China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Thailand, etc.
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Masterofoneinchpunch
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Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 09 Jul 2014, 19:13

I'm interested in your opinions of the books on Asian cinema out there. What should we buy, what should we avoid and what is just plain mediocre. I added this because my ramblings on City on Fire seemed in an inappropriate place. I will move it over here as well as my reviews on other Asian Film books.

If we want to make this more generic we could go Books on Cinema (though we would have to move it to a different subforum).

First I wanted to add a link to Books in English on Hong Kong film from HKMDB. This was a pretty good thread that unfortunately cannot be added to anymore because the Forum (for the most part) was locked out. Brian Thibodeau has some good comments on there. I occasionally contact him, but I do miss his writing (sometimes it is good to have information in two or more places in case a forum goes bye-bye.) I also added Books on Hong Kong Cinema at heroesoftheeast forum, but it is not used much. So I'll probably move my finished reviews over here.

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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby grim_tales » 09 Jul 2014, 22:40

"Hong Kong Action Cinema" by Bey Logan was a good read for me when i was at college :) What a shame he never updated the book.

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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 09 Jul 2014, 22:50

grim_tales wrote:"Hong Kong Action Cinema" by Bey Logan was a good read for me when i was at college :) What a shame he never updated the book.


I've probably mentioned that a few times as well on various sites. Stephen Teo needs an update for his book. Thank goodness David Bordwell did an update of his book Planet Hong Kong. I'm always looking through both of those books and consider those first tier HK books.

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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Markgway » 10 Jul 2014, 04:27

I found Teo's book heavy going the first time around - I really detest academic writing - but then I've seen a lot more of the films he wrote about since that came out (1997, I think) so it may interest me more now.

Planet Hong Kong I haven't read.

Logan's Hong Kong Cinema I bought when it first came out - much more my style.

I like Paul Fonoroff's review book simply because it proves I'm not the harshest critic out there. ;)
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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Shingster » 10 Jul 2014, 04:28

This is quite eerie, I was about to start a similar thread tonight! :D I've started getting into books on cinema in general now after years of having the attitude that I can be watching many more films if I'm not reading about them and I think it would be good to have some sort of indexed thread that covers the best resources on big name filmmakers or the important film industries worldwide.

I've recently purchased a few FAB Press books on a wide variety of sources because they have a discounted "scuffed/shop returns" sale section that offers a few decent bargains and I've been impressed by the condition of them tbh! I know one thing though, if you're only looking for new editions then then building up a cinema biblio-collection is a seriously expensive endeavour, once titles go out of print they often shoot up to £50-£70! I've started ordering books 2nd hand now and recently purchased Donald Richie's The Films of Akira Kurosawa mainly because I could get it relatively cheap as an ex-library copy from the US. I've just ordered Stephen Teo's Hong Kong Cinema based on your recommendation MoOIP so thanks for that (I'd heard of Teo and Bordwell & their works over the years of course but never bought anything by them), I take it Planet Hong Kong is definitely worth buying as a companion piece then? BTW if anyone else is interested in the Stephen Teo book you can get it 2nd hand for £5.45 here.

I do own a couple of books from Yesteryear that I can probably offer some feedback on: obviously there's Hong Kong Action Cinema that I picked up in pristine copy for 75p back in my Uni days, but everyone here knows all about that so I will just comment that Tom Mes's Agitator on the works of Takashi Miike is definitely worth a read if you're interested in the director's films. It's a bit of a no-nonsense account of his career and influences up until around 2003 told film-by-film via essays and reviews on each title and it essentially focuses on just the meat of Miike's work and the recurring themes rather than spending too much on setting a social context for each and every one (although it does some of that too). Haven't read it in almost 10yrs though so my memory might be fuzzy, and I haven't purchased the follow up book: Re-Agitator either so can't comment on that (it wasn't in the FAB Press scuffed sale! :D)

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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby saltysam » 10 Jul 2014, 10:07

When i became a rabid kung fu nut back in the late 70's this was the first book i picked up on the genre......for nostalgia purposes might pick it up again :)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kung-fu-vengean ... 0517518317
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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby HungFist » 10 Jul 2014, 11:00

Jasper Sharp's Behind the Pink Curtain is a pretty good book on pink films. A bit academic, and he doesn't go into too much detail, but he pretty much covers the entire genre with all its variety (well, nearly at least), so there's bound to be new info for almost everyone. For me the chapters on Wakamatsu and Adachi's political films, and the politics in Japan at the time, were probably the most interesting as I'm relatively new to the topic. He dislikes some great rape films, though :lol:

Going OOP soon. New printing may or may not come, the publisher is apparently having difficulties finding new printing house as the pictures in the book have been deemed "indecent" :lol:

It's a good book if you want to understand the genre, rather than get recommendations/reviews on individual titles. For the latter, the Wessers' Japanese Cinema Encyclopedia: The Sex Films is still a wonderful reference book, despite some some reviews that he obviously didn't write himself, or wrote without seeing the film in question. Even then, there are useful reviews of loads of films that the internet has barely heard of (but probably do exist indeed).

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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 10 Jul 2014, 17:15

Markgway wrote:I found Teo's book heavy going the first time around - I really detest academic writing - but then I've seen a lot more of the films he wrote about since that came out (1997, I think) so it may interest me more now.

Planet Hong Kong I haven't read.

Logan's Hong Kong Cinema I bought when it first came out - much more my style.

I like Paul Fonoroff's review book simply because it proves I'm not the harshest critic out there. ;)


For me it depends on what type of academic writing. For example I tend to hate postmodernistic views and its tendency to make difficult out of simple ideas. I like Bordwell's book because it delves over so much technique of filmmaking which I find fascinating. Bordwell's blog is also one of my favorite movie related blogs.

That's funny about Fonoroff's book: At the Hong Kong Movies: 600 Reviews from 1988 Till the Handover which I tend to read about the film only after I watch it. I know he wrote some extra reviews that are on hkmdb. But often I wonder "does he even like Hong Kong film?" Does anyone have his Silver light: A pictorial history of Hong Kong Cinema 1920-1970? I've thought about buying it a few times.

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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 10 Jul 2014, 17:19

saltysam wrote:When i became a rabid kung fu nut back in the late 70's this was the first book i picked up on the genre......for nostalgia purposes might pick it up again :)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kung-fu-vengean ... 0517518317


I bought this and read it once. I'm going to go over again in the near future as I have seen more films mentioned in the book since them. A little small, but nice and easy read. Someone had recommended this to me on KFC. I was surprised that a book on Kung Fu movies had come out during the 70s so I had to purchase it.

Interesting mentions Hungfist. I have a lot less books on Japanese cinema (with several of them being on Akira Kurosawa) than Hong Kong cinema.

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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 10 Jul 2014, 17:32

Shingster wrote: ... I've started ordering books 2nd hand now and recently purchased Donald Richie's The Films of Akira Kurosawa mainly because I could get it relatively cheap as an ex-library copy from the US. I've just ordered Stephen Teo's Hong Kong Cinema based on your recommendation MoOIP so thanks for that (I'd heard of Teo and Bordwell & their works over the years of course but never bought anything by them), I take it Planet Hong Kong is definitely worth buying as a companion piece then? BTW if anyone else is interested in the Stephen Teo book you can get it 2nd hand for £5.45 here.

I do own a couple of books from Yesteryear that I can probably offer some feedback on: obviously there's Hong Kong Action Cinema that I picked up in pristine copy for 75p back in my Uni days, but everyone here knows all about that so I will just comment that Tom Mes's Agitator on the works of Takashi Miike is definitely worth a read if you're interested in the director's films. ...


I go over that Donald Richie book on Akira Kurosawa everytime I rewatch or do research on one of Kurosawa's films. A great resource and I like Richie's style even if he seems to not like the later Kurosawa films that much, especially compared to the fertile middle period of Kurosawa. If you really like Kurosawa than I recommend Kurosawa's autobiography "Something Like an Autobiography" which while only going up to Rashoman is a must read for any fan of Kurosawa. So while it would have been nice for him to go into more depth with his most famous films and possibly going over why he split with Mifune, it is nice to know about his childhood and feelings on certain directors.

RE: Kurosawa: Film Studies and Japanese Cinema by Mitshuhiro Yoshimoto: A very academic book and a bit cranky in it's writing but does go over territory that Richie does not. I've used it for some of my essays on Kurosawa.

RE: Planet Hong Kong: the second edition is mostly only available as a pdf (there was a short run, but it was quite expensive). Buy it here 15 dollars using Paypal. While the first is fun to read, he fixes some errata and adds a few chapters including a good one on Johnnie To.

I did not know about that Takashi Miike book, so thanks for the mention. I do need to see more of his films though (of course most do as his filmography is immense).

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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Shingster » 10 Jul 2014, 23:14

Ah nice one MoOIP, you can get the 1st edition as a 2nd hand Hardback for about a tenner but a pdf at the same price of a 2nd edition sounds like a better buy to me given the lack of shelf space I have with my DVD/BD collection, plus you can obviously search pdf/epubs for specific info! I wish more authors would do this once their work is long OOP! Will look into those Kurosawa suggestions as well!

HungFist wrote:Jasper Sharp's Behind the Pink Curtain is a pretty good book on pink films. A bit academic, and he doesn't go into too much detail, but he pretty much covers the entire genre with all its variety (well, nearly at least), so there's bound to be new info for almost everyone. For me the chapters on Wakamatsu and Adachi's political films, and the politics in Japan at the time, were probably the most interesting as I'm relatively new to the topic. He dislikes some great rape films, though :lol:
This is available in the FAB Press scuffed/returns sale and I very nearly purchased it but decided not to in the end as I doubt I'll ever delve into most the genres covered any more than superficially.

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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby HungFist » 11 Jul 2014, 03:25

Shingster wrote:
HungFist wrote:Jasper Sharp's Behind the Pink Curtain is a pretty good book on pink films. A bit academic, and he doesn't go into too much detail, but he pretty much covers the entire genre with all its variety (well, nearly at least), so there's bound to be new info for almost everyone. For me the chapters on Wakamatsu and Adachi's political films, and the politics in Japan at the time, were probably the most interesting as I'm relatively new to the topic. He dislikes some great rape films, though :lol:
This is available in the FAB Press scuffed/returns sale and I very nearly purchased it but decided not to in the end as I doubt I'll ever delve into most the genres covered any more than superficially.


You might still give it a shot, as it's really more of a book for people who have a general interest in the genre, than people who are actually watching those films. He's trying to give you an image of how the genre developed, rather than review tons of individual titles. That's why the book is organized in chronological order in 18 chapters, starting from the birth of pink cinema and finishing with the currect situation in the 2000's.

The Weissers' book on the other hand is only useful if you are actually watching the movies and need reference for 5000 titles.

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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Shingster » 12 Jul 2014, 01:37

Hmm, if they add any more titles to their scuffed sale I'm interested in then I'll definitely add that alongside it! Shame I didn't have this feedback a couple of weeks back! :D

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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 15 Jul 2014, 18:58

I've actually made a lot of changes since I first put this on here (in a different thread). This will probably be what I put on Amazon (when I am done tinkering.)

City on Fire: Hong Kong Cinema (1999) by Lisa Odham Stokes, Michael Hoover

I have very mixed feelings about this book from Lisa Odham Stokes (author of Historical Dictionary of Hong Kong Cinema) and Michael Hoover. I like the amount of research that went into it and the amount of interviews that were specifically done for the book. The majority of the study is on films from the 1990s. I originally thought there was going to be more allusions to the 1997 handover (and there is a decent amount of them) but the amount of Marx and postmodernist quotes are what is overdone. I would not doubt that Marx is mentioned and/or quoted at least 100 times (I wish I had a pdf or other digital copy to check this.) It gives one the feeling that the authors did not project enough of their thoughts and leaned on certain social philosophers that often had nothing to do with Hong Kong cinema. It takes on an anti-capitalist stance throughout without being as hard on the PRC (People’s Republic of China) though in the last chapter “Meet the New Boss” it equates the two as the same: “Apparently, ‘the interests of the capitalist class in Hong Kong and the rulers in Beijing are the same: keeping the workers down and minimizing popular politics.’”

This book has a strange style for commenting and sometimes strains to connect social points and often spouts truisms or tautologies. For example on Long Arm of the Law: “Britain’s much-ballyhooed ‘hands off’ approach to Hong Kong notwithstanding, as Chandra Mohanty remarks, ‘colonization almost invariably implies a structure of domination … and political suppression.’” First I am always wary of ellipses in quotations as they can dramatically alter the meaning. Second I am not sure who Chandra Mohanty is or why we should care because there is no introduction to who she is. You have to go to the notes page to find out she is an author of “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses.” Third the quotation comes off as a truism. Did that statement need to be there? There are hundreds of these type of quotations which are sometimes appropriate, sometimes appear out of the blue and often feel too didactic.*

The book has a foreword from John A. Lent (who is editor of the 2014 book Southeast Asian Cartoon Art: History, Trends and Problems), twelve chapters, an epilogue “Hong Kong Calling” and quite a bit of end notes that are worth reviewing. The first chapter “Mapping the Territory” literally maps a historical account of Hong Kong. The second “Reeling in the Years” is a too short account for the history of its cinema. Chapters three through twelve take a variety of movie topics from John Woo, Triad/cops, Seven Little Fortunes (including Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung), New Wave filmmakers (including Ann Hui, Tsui Hark), to comedy and drama. Those chapters describe plots and often put it in a social-political bent with a Marxist and postmodern influence as well as include many allegorical usages of the 1997 handover. Chapter twelve “Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss” specifically discusses post-handover Hong Kong and some of its cinema leading up to 1999 (the publish date of the book.) The epilogue has several pages of interview quotations from a plethora of people including Tsui Hark, John Woo, Donnie Yen, Ronny Yu, Chris Doyle and Chow Yun-fat that is mostly on Hollywood, but is worth reading.

It is not a book I would recommend for starting into HK cinema. Stephen Teo's Hong Kong Cinema (which needs a new release) and David Bordwell's second edition of Planet Hong Kong are easily more complete reads on Hong Kong movies. If you are looking for a social critique with postmodernistic and Marxist fervor on mainly the more well-known 1990s Hong Kong films then this is your book. Since there is a lot of interviews done specifically for the book interspersed throughout as well as a good amount of research was put into the making of this (with some usual canards like The Killer “did not do well in Hong Kong” and stating Kwan Tak-hing making ninety-nine Wong Fei-hung films), scholars of Hong Kong cinema will want this for their library. Others might be put off by its approach or the fact that there is a wealth of new material on Hong Kong cinema after the publication of this book including the release of the Shaw Brothers library of films and lots of books.

* Another example [on Chungking Express]: “he says “Do you think I’ve change? Getting optimistic all of a sudden and things just turn beautiful. You look a lot cuter than before now. You were sort of neat and that was alright. But this goldfish look? With patches all over? Have you been fighting?’ Marx notes that “Commodities as such are indifferent to all religious, political, national and linguistic barriers.’” Doesn’t this read awkwardly? It seems like a forced attempt to thrown in a Marx quote.

Postmodern rhetoric example: “Lefebvre suggests that the privatization of consumption means a replacement of signs by signals and of symbols by images. This condition strips individuals of their ability to connect; people cannot ‘totalize’ their experiences. Commodified objects contribute to a condition in which alienation has become ‘social practice,’ creating what he calls ‘the bureaucratic society of controlled consumption.’”

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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby grim_tales » 15 Jul 2014, 22:42

This was actually one of the first books I had on HK cinema (Bey Logan's book aside, IIRC) and it annoyed me :D It was quite boring TBH :D

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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 15 Jul 2014, 23:07

grim_tales wrote:This was actually one of the first books I had on HK cinema (Bey Logan's book aside, IIRC) and it annoyed me :D It was quite boring TBH :D


It has enough facts which interested me. Not too many mistakes and had new interviews for the book. However, it is the point of view and the countless Marx related and post-modern (also check how many Foucault references there are) related quotations that got annoying; especially if you do not dig either. It is more interested in social aspects through a narrow lens than quality of the movies (unless one views social aspects to be equal to quality.)

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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 21 Jan 2015, 00:47

Second draft (has anyone read this?):

Chasing Dragons: An Introduction to the Martial Arts Film (2006) by David West

There is just too many issues with book to recommend. Those who are seasoned with martial arts movie knowledge will find the omissions as a major detriment more than the few errata that are more annoying than harmful to the overall read of this book. Though some of those mistakes can be quite annoying. For example he states that Run Run Shaw is born in 1918 when in fact in was 1907 and he stated he died in 1991 when in fact he would live several years after the printing of the book; he thinks the Hong Kong New Wave is in the 1990s; while he makes the very usual canard of Lau Kar-fei (aka Gordon Lau) being the adopted brother of Lau Kar-leung, he states that the adoption happened as an infant. But those very omissions which I discuss below and the films chosen to review is what makes the very thesis of the book “An Introduction” as somewhat erroneous.

The book is set-up into three main sections: Japan, Hong Kong and Hollywood and the USA. Each of those sections then gets split into a specific topic like a director and then after some detail on it there are several movie reviews. For example for Gosha Hideo he reviews Three Outlaw Samurai, Sword of the Beast, Tenchu (aka Hitokiri) and Goyokin. His strongest section is the Japanese one which he refers back to throughout the book. His love of classic Japanese cinema shows through and it is my favorite section of the book. His background in martial arts, as he has written for several martial art magazines, does make his analysis worth reading on several of the films and he does use particular Japanese phrases I will appropriate in later writings. Though he does not make as much effort with the Chinese films because I do not think there is even one mention of wuxia or jianghu.

Be warned that his reviews of the films do contain spoilers that you might want to skip if you want to be surprised for a particular film. He takes a humanistic approach to his reviews so you will find him particularly harsh on exploitation films like the Lone Wolf and Cub series and Kill Bill. I have no issue with these and in fact agree with much of what he says in that regard. However, later on his contrarian review on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon seems misplaced. He cites the facts that since it was not popular in Hong Kong and that many western reviewers wrongly stated it was unique as a huge knock against it: “Much of the praise given to the film reflects the critics’ unfamiliarity with Hong Kong cinema, for Lee’s film is formulaic to the point of redundancy.” Now given the fact that Lee is a Taiwanese director and personally I do not consider it a Hong Kong film (though HK money was involved), he misses the salient fact that many Asian critics value the film quite highly (it made a very high listing on Golden Horse’s 100 Greatest Chinese-Language Films as well Hong Kong Film Awards The Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures.) So his statement seems it direct contrast to those critics who are very familiar with Hong Kong cinema.

But the omissions seems to me the most conspicuous issue with the book. For Japan he sagaciously mentions the book Hagakure. But the book was an idealized account of bushido written in a peaceful time. It is not the only book on the topic (see Bushido Shoshinshu by Taira Shigesuke) and he seems to use it like a guiding force (like a person with a hammer who sees everything as nails) much like the protagonist in one of his favorite films Ghost Dog (a film I like very much.) For Hong Kong he only has two reviews for Chang Cheh: Men From the Monastery and The Chinatown Kid. While he only gives a perfunctory description for One-Armed Swordsman, he does not even mention Five Deadly Venoms or Crippled Avengers. For Lau Kar-leung he does not even mention The 36[sup]th[/sup] Chamber of Shaolin (while he does mention the third film in the series.) But what is very telling that he only has seem a small amount of Hong Kong films is where he states “Shaw Brothers films were prudish…” in comparison to Golden Harvest. Huh? Has he not seen the horror films like Black Magic, the exploitation films like Killer Snakes etc…? Also, why have a section on John Woo’s gun films and ignore so many martial art films from Hong Kong and Taiwan. For American film he starts off with Bad Day at Black Rock (1955). Not a bad choice, but one might wonder why no mention of the Jiu-jitsu in the Moto films (late 1930s) or the Judo in Blood on the Sun (1945).

Overall an OK book, but too many issues keep me from recommending this. Too many small errors and too many omissions. While I do not know of a great book on the more abstract area of “martial arts film” there are several more concise books I can recommend like Bey Logan’s Hong Kong Action Cinema (1996), David Bordwell’s Planet Hong Kong 2[sup]nd[/sup] Edition (2011) and Donald Richie’s A Hundred Years of Japanese Films (2001). It looks like there is still a good opportunity for someone to write a book that introduces a neophyte audience to the wonderful world of martial arts cinema.
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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Markgway » 21 Jan 2015, 04:04

Thanks for the review.

Yes, it is something of a pain to read books on a subject you already know much about as one spends as much time error-spotting as enjoying the text.

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:he makes the very usual canard of Lau Kar-fei (aka Gordon Lau) being the adopted brother of Lau Kar-leung.)


Well, to be fair, they were like brothers, and Ka-Fai did adopt his sifu's surname... so I would cut him some slack on that one. ;)
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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 21 Jan 2015, 16:53

Markgway wrote:Thanks for the review.

Yes, it is something of a pain to read books on a subject you already know much about as one spends as much time error-spotting as enjoying the text.

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:he makes the very usual canard of Lau Kar-fei (aka Gordon Lau) being the adopted brother of Lau Kar-leung.)


Well, to be fair, they were like brothers, and Ka-Fai did adopt his sifu's surname... so I would cut him some slack on that one. ;)


Thanks. I agree with that, they were like brothers (that one is more of a nit-pick.) Though I did forget to mention that at one point in the book he says that Ka-fai was adopted as an infant. That one was more egregious. I think I will change that in my second draft (it is now posted above.)

Some interesting quotes:

on The Chinese Boxer: "The Story is either a rip-off of , or riposte to Kurosawa's 'Sanshiro Sugata' films."
"...adopted brother Lau Gar Fei joined the family as an infant."
"Leung was the first Hong Kong choreographer to become a director in his own right with The Spiritual Boxer (1976)."
on Legendary Weapons of Kung Fu: "... the first kung fu movie to rely on intertextuality to create meaning on the visual plane." "...dismantling the work of his predecessors King Hu and Chang Cheh."
on The Big Boss: "...considerably racier than anything made by Chang Cheh or King Hu."
"At Shaw Brothers the in-house style was Hung Kuen kung fu, which made scant use of kicks;..."
"Canton, the birthplace of virtually every important filmmaker in the traditional genre, with the exception of Bruce Lee."
on Hui Brothers: "Their most significant film in terms of its thematic impact on the film industry was Security Unlimited from 1981"
on Pedicab Driver: "...an unmistakable reference to Leung's film Mad Monkey Kung Fu." "...Hung deconstructs the vital essence of the martial arts film - the fight scene - by drawing attention to the choreographers themselves, identifying himself and Lau Gar Leung on screen and highlighting their different styles."

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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Ivan Drago » 25 Feb 2015, 10:20

Kung Fu: Cinema of Vengeance is a great book, very much a primary source as it was written during the internation kung fu boom, and features interviews with various HK film folk. It also notes that the interest in kung fu films in HK itself was declining at the time. The author also got to see All Men Are Brothers before its Hong Kong release.

I have two of Donald Richie's books on Japanese cinema. They make for great reading, but Sonny Chiba doesn't get a single mention, and I suspect the last edition's anime entry was done under pressure from the publishers!
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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 25 Feb 2015, 17:14

Ivan Drago wrote:Kung Fu: Cinema of Vengeance is a great book, very much a primary source as it was written during the internation kung fu boom, and features interviews with various HK film folk. It also notes that the interest in kung fu films in HK itself was declining at the time. The author also got to see All Men Are Brothers before its Hong Kong release.

I have two of Donald Richie's books on Japanese cinema. They make for great reading, but Sonny Chiba doesn't get a single mention, and I suspect the last edition's anime entry was done under pressure from the publishers!


Cinema of Vengeance is a fun read and a must have for any martial art scholars. I do wish it was bigger though. I plan on rereading it which actually won't take long.

That anime entry for the Richie book A Hundred Years of Japanese Film is definitely weak. His whole heart is definitely not in it. That's been a common complaint from many reviews. I tend to agree with that complaint. I did not even realize that about Sonny Chiba. Interesting omission. Richie is more interested in artistic films than popular ones (though he does go over those too) but it seems strange to not have one mention of Chiba.

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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 23 Nov 2015, 22:05

Here is most of my collection on Asian movie books. Feel free to ask about any specific title. I have not read all of them, some of them I just use for reference and some of them like Ric Meyers I read once :). Links are to my long-winded reviews. I will take suggestions to ones I do not have and should get.

NR = Not Read; I do not include the encyclopedia ones as NR since I tend to peruse them but not read front to back (sometimes I do though.)

Asian Generic
Hong Kong Action Cinema (1996) by Bey Logan
Video Hound's Dragon: Asian Action & Cult Flicks (2003) by Brian Thomas Foreward Cynthia Rothrock
The Shaw Screen: A Preliminary Study (HKFA) NR
Hong Kong Filmography Vol. 2 1942 – 1949 (HKFA)
Chang Cheh: A Memoir (HKFA) (2004) by Chang Cheh, Preface John Woo, Sek Kei, Edited by Wong Ain-ling
China Forever: The Shaw Brothers and Diasporic Cinema (2008) Edited by Poshek Fu
Great Martial Art Movies (2001) by Richard Meyers
Films of Fury: The Kung Fu Movie Book (2011) by Richard Meyers
Kung Fu: Cinema of Vengeance (1974) by Verina Glassner
Chinese Cinema During the Era of Reform (2003) by Ying Zhu
Asian Horror (2010) by Andy Richards
Spooky Encounters: A Gwailo’s Guide to Hong Kong Horror (2003) by Daniel O’Brien NR
100 Must See Hong Kong Movies by Sam Ho (small book)
The Hong Kong Filmography, 1977-1997 (2000) by John Charles
Planet Hong Kong (2000) by David Bordwell
Planet Hong Kong 2[sup]nd[/sup] Edition (2011) by David Bordwell (PDF)
Hong Kong Cinema: The Extra Dimensions (1997) by Stephen Teo
Encyclopedia of Chinese Film (1999) by Yingjin Zhang
At the Hong Kong Movies (1999) Paul Fonoroff
Asian Pop Cinema: Bombay to Tokyo (1998) by Lee Server
Hong Kong Babylon (1998) by Fredric Dannen, Barry Long
Letters of the Dragon (1998) by Bruce Lee, Edited by John Little
China on Screen: Cinema and Nation (2006) by Chris Berry and Mary Farquhar
Chasing Dragons: An Introduction to the Martial Arts Film (2006) by David West
The Cinema of Hong Kong: History, Arts, Identity (2006) Edited by Poshek Fu and David Desser
At Full Speed: Hong Kong Cinema in a Borderless World (2001) Edited by Esther C.M. Yau
City on Fire: Hong Kong Cinema (1999) by Lisa Odham Stokes and Michael Hoover
The A to Z of Hong Kong Cinema (2010) by Lisa Odham Stokes
Hollywood East (2000) by Stefan Hammond
Sex and Zen and a Bullet in the Head (1996) by Stefan Hammond & Mike Wilkins
Once Upon a Time in China (2003) by Jeff Yang
Dying to Belong: Gangster Movies in Hollywood and Hong Kong (2007) by Martha P. Nochimson
The Ultimate Guide to Martial Arts Movies of the 1970s (2008) by Dr. Craig D. Reid
Kung Fu Cult Masters (2003) by Leon Hunt
Director in Action: Johnnie To and the Hong Kong Action Film (2007) by Stephen Teo
John Woo Interviews (2005) Edited by Robert K. Elder
John Woo: The Films (1999) by Kenneth E. Hall
John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow (2004) by Karen Fang NR
Zhang Yimou: Interviews (2001) Edited by Frances K. Gateward NR
Wong Kar-wai: Auteur of Time (2005) by Stephen Teo

Jackie Chan
I am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action (1998) by Jackie Chan, Jeff Yang
Jackie Chan: The Best of Inside Kung Fu (1998) by John Little, Long Cheng
Jackie Chan: Inside the Dragon (1997) by Clyde Gentry III
The Unauthorized Jackie Chan Encyclopedia (2002) by John Corcoran
The Essential Jackie Chan Sourebook (1997) by Jeff Rovin

Japanese
A Hundred Years of Japanese Film (2005) by Donald Richie Forward by Paul Schrader
Samurai Film (2006) by Alain Silver
The Warriors Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa (1991) by Stephen Prince NR
The Emperor and the Wolf: The Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune (2002) by Stuart Galbraith IV NR
Transcendental tyle in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer (1972) by Paul Schrader NR
The Films of Akira Kurosawa 3[sup]rd[/sup] and Expanded, New Epilogue (1999) by Donald Richie
The Films of Akira Kurosawa 3[sup]rd[/sup] and Expanded (1996) by Donald Richie
Akira Kurosawa Interviews (2007) Edited by Bert Cardullo
Kurosawa: Film Studies and Japanese Cinema (2000) by Mitshuhiro Yoshimoto
Akira Kurosawa: Something Like an Autobiography (1983) by Akira Kurosawa, Audie E. Bock (Translator)

I just bought a copy of A Study of Hong Kong Cinema in the Seventies by Urban Council (1984) but have yet to receive it. I have several more PDF books. I have a few more pamphlet, small essays books I’ll have to put down. Lots of magazines.

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Markgway
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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Markgway » 23 Nov 2015, 23:31

Nice list. I have a few of those... some I've never even read.
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Masterofoneinchpunch
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Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 19:36

Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 24 Nov 2015, 00:23

Markgway wrote:Nice list. I have a few of those... some I've never even read.

Thanks. I got a couple of pdfs of OOP books last week so it got me thinking about what I had and what I needed. Panku (from KFC and KFF) had told me about a Chor Yuen book that seems pretty interesting.

Has Bey Logan thought about updating his book? When David Bordwell updated his Planet Hong Kong he didn't have a publisher so he went for PDF (there is a short run of the book, but is now insanely expensive.)

I know Brian T. from HKMDB had thought about doing something on HK cinema, but I have not heard from him in awhile. I probably should email him again about the subject.

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grim_tales
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Re: Books on Asian Film

Unread postby grim_tales » 24 Nov 2015, 02:30

I think it would be cool if Bey updated his book, a lot has changed in 20 years or so.


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