How and why did films from Hong Kong — a former British Crown Colony and map-speck — become so popular? Post-WWII, creative freedom was scarce in Asia, but Hong Kong was a safe space for filmmakers seeking to profit from overseas Chinese markets and Chinatowns worldwide. Both Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest set up massive operations in Hong Kong and let the celluloid slip.
By the 1980s, Hong Kong’s Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan were famous throughout Asia. Their winning formula of humour and martial arts prowess ripped through kung fu stereotypes, while filmmakers like Tsui Hark and Ringo Lam served up fantasy, horror and noir crime dramas for rabid cinemagoing hordes in the grindhouses of Kowloon. It was a glorious time.
This book is the nonpareil true story of the Hong Kong film industry, one that doesn’t skimp on the good bits: the hyperkinetic films themselves. Included are intrepid firsthand accounts of the culture and international fanbases to have emerged around these movies.
More Sex, Better Zen, Faster Bullets contains the best bits of Sex and Zen & A Bullet in the Head (1996) and Hollywood East (2000) — the two best known tomes on Hong Kong films of the twentieth century — revised and with the inclusion of new material. The result is the most comprehensive encyclopedia of Hong Kong film available anywhere.
Contributors include Michael Bliss, David Chute, Jeremy Hansen, Dave Kehr, Andy Klein, Wade Major, Jim Morton and Jude Poyer.
Special hardback edition contains four additional pages of colour.