East Asian Cinemas: Exploring Transnational Connections on Film (Tauris World Cinema)

East Asian Cinemas: Exploring Transnational Connections on Film - Leung Wing-Fai, Leon Hunt A collection of essays about the east Asian film industry. There is a lot of talk of influences back and forth between the Asian countries 'national' film industries and between them and the Hollywood machine, which is interesting, but ultimately depressing as it suggests that the individual character of the nations (if indeed if it ever really existed in film) will be subsumed into a single collection of narratives continuously reborn and re-imagined, with culturally complications airbrushed out to make way for a wider audience. I for one, want to keep them all in their separate boxes so I can enjoy something 'different' once in the while (or avoid Hollywood if I am honest).

Unfortunately the book is a product of a so-called academic industry that tries to justify itself by bouncing around the words 'juxtaposed' and 'contextualised' far too much and thinking that it has some sort of priori knowledge of the world – it doesn't. I think a proper historians, anthropologists, or even sociologists view would have be more enlightening than the pretentious meaningless waffle of a bunch of people who think you can make a living out of watching films and repeating film industry marketing bollocks in 'essay' form. DVD commentary, you understand is a valuable source of extra-primary text!

Worse, and I concede this may reflect reality, the marketing and 'business' aspects of the film-making really stand out in the essays, and spoils, for me, a couple of the films discussed here that I admire greatly – I don't really want to be told that the film that I think of a a work of genius, is in fact a product of focus groups, intense media bangwagonning, and the overwhelming power of a few media companies who have decided that 'this is the film you will watch this year'... I want to at least think that I am able to discern my own taste and am not there to be manipulated by tried and test formulae.

It's my own fault of course. I will endeavour not to read books about films any more. I just want to experience the film, decide for myself if I like it, and pretend that films are made as art, not to line the pockets of mega-business and used by 'film' academia as a means to confuse media students with content-free sophistry.

The book actually gets 3 stars, but one of those is lost because I didn't like being told I only like Princess Mononoke because it was a daihitto.