PRINT November 2004


recent Asian cinema

THE NEW WAVES of Asian cinema—from the three Chinas, Japan, and, more recently, Korea and Thailand—that have thrilled so-called specialized audiences over the past twenty years have gathered into a tsunami of sufficient force to propel the occasional Asian film to the top of the box-office charts. Moviegoers have gradually become acclimated to the hyperbolic pace and emotions (either glacial or boiling) and the fractured narratives of Asian film through the Hollywoodized hybrids of John Woo and Ang Lee, not to mention Quentin Tarantino. And although the eroticized longueurs of Wong Kar-wai’s recent films (Happy Together and In the Mood for Love) have captivated such Hollywood hipsters as Sofia Coppola, it’s the martial arts movies and gangster shoot-’em-ups that are more likely to cross into the mass market—even when their stars are less well known (albeit infinitely more glamorous) than

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