Asian Invasion

Edward Fowler ebfowler at
Tue Jan 23 18:39:25 EST 2001

Joe:  point well taken!  I like your reference to Chinese cinemas as
a "field" and not a "pole."  It was certainly NOT my intent, however,
to boost Korean cinema at the expense of other national cinemas
(for that would be falling into the same trap), but only to expand
the discussion in a direction that I thought Kehr's article could
be leading us.  (It really didn't dwell THAT much on Chinese cinema
if you took out all the references to 'Yi Yi,' the film that it was
clearly boosting.)  And you're right, there are other Asian cinemas
to be on the lookout for, not just in South Asia, as Aaron has pointed
out, but in Southeast Asia as well, as Kehr mentioned in passing.
Where does this lead us?  From 'KineJapan' to 'KineAsia'?  Or to some
other configuration?  To the detriment of any advocacy of a national
cinema?  Or its enhancement?  But then, just what is 'national cinema'
in this day and age of global financing and global audiences?  (Surely
someone like Darrell Davis must have some thoughts on this.)  Again,
I don't have answers....  Ted Fowler

On Tue, 23 Jan 2001, Joseph Murphy wrote:

> Ted, that's a good point and I would like to hear more about Korean
> film on this list.  But I didn't really feel that you hit the right
> undercurrent for the omission. Here's a couple reasons why.  First,
> as you note, because Chinese cinema includes a number of national
> cinemas, Hong Kong, Taiwan and cinema from the Republic of China, at
> least, it really doesn't constitute a pole, but rather a field.  i.e,
> it sort of undoes that polarity from the start, and you're already
> caught up in a question of representation among a variety of cinemas.
> Chinese cinema comes to the fore in this discussion because of the
> undeniable influence of Hong Kong cinema on the 90's wave of action
> movies, and the success in an international commercial market of
> directors like Ang Lee, Jackie Chan, and John Woo, and actors like
> Chou Yun Fat, Maggie Cheung, etc.  Despite the unquestionable merits
> of Korean cinema, I don't think there is any similar commercial
> visibility. If this were a perfect world in my view we would spend
> all our time talking about Masumura Yasuzo and Kim Ki-young, but this
> is precisely about how a messy knot of commercial considerations tied
> up with the dominance of Hollywood and the problem of subtitling
> trumps aesthetic and political considerations that might be more
> important to us as academics. But beyond that, I think from the start
> we brought up Kehr's article because there was a sense that whatever
> its principles of composition, it was not just more of the same. I
> think the premise of the discussion is that it is precisely the
> exaggerated position of Japanese film in the western critical
> imagination up till recently that has prevented vibrant cinema from
> countries like Korea from receiving the consideration it deserves
> (others please correct me on this if it doesn't speak for you).
> Aaron's posts bring up the question of South Asian cinema as well. I
> mean, there's been a certain ironic gesture to boosterism, but please
> take it with a grain of salt.
> J. Murphy
> --
> ***************************************************
> Joseph Murphy
> E-mail: <urj7 at>
> TEL: (352) 392-2110/2442. FAX (352) 392-1443
> <>
> University of Florida, Box 115565, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
> ***************************************************

More information about the KineJapan mailing list