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Jackie Chan and the Re-invention of Tradition

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One of the presenters at the 1994 Golden Horse Awards was Taiwanese actress Yeung Hwei-San, who commented that there are three things an actor is afraid to work with: animals, because they are cute; children, because they are precious; and Jackie Chan, because when he's on-screen the audience will pay attention only to him. This comment, which links Jackie Chan with the old Hollywood saying about never working with children or animals, is interesting because it connects Chan with part of American film lore, mingling Hong Kong and US film traditions into one statement. This statement is thus a fitting reflection on the career of Jackie Chan as well, which can be seen as the mingling of the Chinese traditions of the Peking Opera and kung-fu films which he was a part of, with the Western tradition of classical Hollywood cinema, of which he became a part.
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Keywords: Hollywood cinema; Hong Kong traditions; Jackie Chan; US traditions; kung-fu films; tradition

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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