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Chinese Martial Arts CinemaThe Wuxia Tradition$
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Stephen Teo

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780748632855

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748632855.001.0001

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Wuxia from Literature to Cinema

Wuxia from Literature to Cinema

(p.17) 1. Wuxia from Literature to Cinema
Chinese Martial Arts Cinema

Stephen Teo

Edinburgh University Press

The literary and philosophical traditions of the historical xia (knights-errant) are investigated. The cinematic genre began in the 1920s in the Shanghai film industry (then the capital of the Chinese cinema), essentially with the success of The Burning of the Red Lotus Temple, released in 1928. The film’s success led to a long-running serial adventure and to copycat productions of the same ilk – this phenomenon coming under the rubric of the ‘Burning Revolution’ in the Shanghai film industry – thus laying the foundation for the popularity of the genre that would last until the present. The serial nature as well as the fantastic characteristics of the cinematic genre itself was rooted in the literary tradition of long novels with a typical ‘to be continued’ cliff-hanging structure.

Keywords:   Literary xia, the Shanghai cinema, wuxia novels, serials, ‘Burning Revolution‘

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