Taylor's FSLM Journals
Film authorship and national cinema: An analysis of “Chineseness” in John Woo’s Hollywood films

@ SEARCH Journal of Media and Communication Research

Online ISSN: 2672-7080

*Qiao Li & Lei Deng


Hong Kong has the world’s third largest film industry after Hollywood and Bollywood. For many decades, Hong Kong cinema has long been transregional and transnational. Its audiences are spread across Southeast Asia and its films have been commercially successful in Europe and the USA since the 1970s. John Woo has been a distinguished auteur director of Hong Kong cinema since the 1980s. When Woo relocated to the USA (making English-language films in Hollywood), how were his authorial signatures and the influence of his Chinese background, namely “Chineseness”, represented and negotiated in a transnational context? This article investigates the ways that his transnational/global filmmaking intersects with his Chinese cultural identities and influences. The article takes Woo out of his own cultural contexts, the specific locality. The “Chineseness” in his Hollywood films is also out of its common realm. Hence, this article pushes the boundaries of the idea of national in national cinemas by looking at the ways auteur directors of Chinese origin (such as Woo in this case study) integrated their understanding of Chinese traditional culture in films that were intended for Western audiences.

Keywords: auteur director, film authorship, national cinema, Hollywood, chineseness, John Woo