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Painted Skin : Negotiating Mainland China’s Fear of the Supernatural

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Following Hong Kong’s reunification with China in 1997, it became a “Special Administrative Region” (SAR). This meant that Hong Kong filmmakers now had wider access to distribution and co-production deals with the mainland. In this article, through a case study of the 2008 film, Painted Skin, I consider how the makers of a supernaturally based work have negotiated these industrial changes within their film, in particular, the stricter censorship laws in operation on the mainland. The article argues that while Painted Skin is adapted from a familiar source and in a long tradition of Hong Kong horror films, the historically specific set of circumstances operating around its production and release reveal how central this historical specificity is to any understanding of it as a contemporary Hong Kong horror film.
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Keywords: Censorship; Co-productions; Ghost Stories; Historical specificity; Hong Kong cinema; PRC; Supernatural

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Salford

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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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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