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A City on Fire: Hong Kong Cinema as Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

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Emerging as a newly industrialized city-state, Hong Kong, one of the Asian tigers, has become a leading finance-capital center of the world and functions as a commercial center for Southeast Asia and Southern China. A postmodern city with an international airport, skyscrapers, traffic jams, and cellular phones, Hong Kong has been at the forefront of neo-liberal free trade policies. Today, successful business people dot what has become one of the world's capitalist showcases (1). Indeed, a mapping of the territory reveals high walled private homes, neon signs advertising designer goods from every continent, and blocks of luxury hotels and indoor malls. Another dimension of the landscape, however, is its sweatshops, storefronts, urban pollution, and shantytowns of unrelieved squalor, with too many people for too little land. Poor laborers, sole proprietors, and street people inhabit this terrain.
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Keywords: Hong Kong cinema; cultural logic; economy; globalization; late capitalism; politics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1998-09-01

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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