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CompleteMartialArts.com - Hong Kong Babylon: An Insider's Guide to the Hollywood of the East

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Manufacturer: Miramax
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Binding: Hardcover
Dewey Decimal Number: 016.7914375095125
EAN: 9780786862672
ISBN: 078686267X
Label: Miramax
Manufacturer: Miramax
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 400
Publication Date: 1997-11
Publisher: Miramax
Studio: Miramax

Editorial Reviews:

By including a history of Hong Kong's movie industry; interviews with 31 leading filmmakers, actors, and actresses; plot summaries of some of the better and more influential Hong Kong films of the post-war period; and "recommended viewing" lists from 12 critics, Hong Kong Babylon provides a complete introduction to one of the world's fastest growing and most inventive filmmaking industries. It is especially charming and enlightening to read the discussions in which Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, John Woo, and Chow Yun Fat reflect on their industry in their sometimes stilted English, explaining far better than any Western critic could just what it is to be part of this frenetic business.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating:
Summary: A good introduction to the Hong Kong Cinema.
Comment: Hong Kong Babylon is one of the better books about the wild and entertaining world of Hong Kong Cinema. The writers briefly touch all the bases with the information provided. Get this book and the one by Bey Logan and you'll have a nice overall view of this cinema.

Strongly recommended.

Customer Rating:
Summary: Read it for Barry Long's wonderul summaries!
Comment: Unfortunately, Fred Dannen's interviews are much too short so if you're looking for an in-depth look into the Hong Kong film business this isn't it. However, the book has a substantial section summarizing/commenting on hundreds of films and they are wonderfully written by Barry Long, a true connossieur of Hong Kong cinema.

Customer Rating:
Comment: This book could have been so much more that what it is. The author had interviews with many of the top stars and directors in Hong Kong Cinema, and yet the interviews of such notables as Jet Li, Chow Yun Fat, Jackie Chan, and Michelle Yeoh are barely a page-and-a-half. While it does provide some wonderful information, the bulk of the book is plot summaries and reviews; while the summaries might be helpful, I think most people would have been more interested in what the people involved in the business have to say. Ultimately, my main take on this book is that it was a squaundered oppurtunity for the author to have access to so many well known stars only to reduce them to 5 or 6 comments in a book of this size. Magazine interviews are longer than the interviews found in this book. It's worth reading, but just speaking for myself, it was little more than a tease.

Customer Rating:
Summary: Good basic intro to HK cinema world
Comment: As some of the other reviews here suggest, this is a bit of a cut and paste job-- Dannen's New Yorker piece on the triads thrown together with reviews and lists compiled by others. But the field has been so spottily documented to date that the serious info and critical context provided here is of real value, even if, as is suggested in one of the reviews above, "Sex and Zen and a Bullet in the Head" is probably a better choice for the fan who just wants to know what cool movies to rent. I would also recommend a British book which should be available here, "Hong Kong Action Cinema" by Bey Logan.

Customer Rating:
Summary: Average book on an extraordinary subject
Comment: Considering the lack of any information on the film-making industry outside of Hollywood; this book does fill a needed space. Most libraries would do well to include it in their collection despite the cheap adhesive binding and the high risk of damage to the book(ie pages and pictures being razored out). The opening article gives an interesting yet way-too-short overview on the industry and the individual interviews should have been better planned. The synopsis of individual films is handy because most of the video packaging for these films is not very informative or not in english. Other popular video guides do not often include Hong Kong films unless the films have reached a certain cult status (examples: The Killer, A Better Tomorrow) The critic section is a waste of space. More should have been spent on the history of the industry than on the opinions of little known critics.

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