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Hong Kong Horror Cinema$
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Gary Bettinson and Daniel Martin

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474424592

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474424592.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Tsui Hark’s Detective Dee Films: Police Procedural Colludes with Supernatural-Martial Arts Cinema

Tsui Hark’s Detective Dee Films: Police Procedural Colludes with Supernatural-Martial Arts Cinema

Chapter:
(p.133) Chapter 8 Tsui Hark’s Detective Dee Films: Police Procedural Colludes with Supernatural-Martial Arts Cinema
Source:
Hong Kong Horror Cinema
Author(s):

Kenneth Chan

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474424592.003.0009

Through a close analysis of Hong Kong director Tsui Hark’s Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010), this chapter argues that the film’s successful appeal to local and global Chinese audiences is based on a conservative reading of the familiar cultural trope of modernity versus tradition, as mirrored in the supposed tensions between the police procedural and the horror/supernatural elements in the wuxia shenguai genre. These tensions are problematic precisely because their narrative and rhetorical purpose is to shore up the deterministic logic of Chinese cultural history, the interpellative call of Chinese political power, and the cultural nationalist logic of being Chinese. However, the film is also capable to generating counter-readings of its politics by recasting itself as a global cinematic text of political irony and oppositional resistance.

Keywords:   Martial arts cinema, Police procedural, Chinese transnational cinema, Coproduction

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