TABLE OF CONTENTS

LOUDER THAN WORDS: THE FILMS OF JOHNNIE TO

IN THE MID-’90S, AFTER A SPLENDID RUN IN regional markets and film festivals, Hong Kong cinema began to unravel. Major directors like John Woo and Tsui Hark, along with star Chow Yun-fat, tried their luck in Los Angeles. The handover to China, American studios’ growing domination of Asia, a regional recession, and video piracy triggered a crisis that has steadily deepened. In 2002, local films posted their worst earnings in decades, and producers begged for more government subsidy. Even the art-cinema wing has waned, though Wong Kar-wai remains a festival favorite.

There are a few bright spots. In 1995, before Tsui went to Hollywood, he made The Blade, a ferocious swordplay epic. At the same time, a new generation came forward, inspired by Wong’s lyrical impressionism and disjointed plots but still committed to popular genres like the policier. Ringo Lam’s Full Alert (1997), Patrick Leung’s

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW at the special holiday rate of $45 a year—70% off the newsstand price. You’ll receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the May 2003 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.