Skip to main content

The imagery of “Chinatown” in Film

Abstract

Chinatown has formed different constructions, imaginations, and representations of Chinatown imagery in different films as a narrative space, visual element, or cultural symbol. The use of Chinatown imagery in different films has always been borrowed and appropriated from each other, developing or transforming a Chinatown imagery that belongs to the image itself. Since Blade Runner, Chinatown imagery has been used extensively in Sci-Fi films to construct cyberspace. Cyberpunk Chinatown imagery is no longer a mere label, symbol, or decoration through narrative empowerment. However, it carries more cultural connotations and life, thus using various visual elements and narrative plots to “reinvent” a new Chinatown imagery. The deconstruction and reproduction of the Chinatown imagery in the Detective Chinatown series show that Chinese films pay more attention to this overseas spatial imagery and thus translate more Chinese stories into Chinese film production practices in the era of globalization.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Notes

  1. Such as The Yellow Claw(1921) and The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu (1923).

  2. Yingjin ZHANG. Screening China: Critical Interventions, Cinematic Reconfigurations, and the Transnational Imaginary in Contemporary Chinese Cinema[M]. University of Michigan Press. 2002.

  3. WANG Baohua, CHEN Zhiming. Chinatowns around the World: Gilded Ghetto, Ethnopolis, and Cultural Diaspora[M]. East China Normal University Press. 2019.

  4. CHEN Xiaoyun. Film Cities: Chinese Cinema and Urban Culture (1990–2007) [M]. China Film Press. 2008.

  5. Philip A. Kuhn. Chinese Among Others: Emigration In Modern Times [M]. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 2008.

  6. WU Ning. Critique of Everyday Life: A Study of the Philosophical Thoughts of Lefebvre [M]. People’s Publishing House. 2007.

  7. OUYANG Yiquan. Looking at the future of Hong Kong from cyberpunk style films [J]. Art Technology. 2017(6). 95.

  8. Philip A. Kuhn. Chinese Among Others: Emigration In Modern Times [M]. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 2008.

  9. LU Jianing. From Cyber City to the Age of Waste Land-An Analysis of Story Worlds and Habitat Landscapes in This Year’s Franchise Sci-Fi Films[J]. Contemporary Film. 2018(9)0.121.

  10. LI Daoxin. The Discourse of Chinese Film Nation and its Historical Landscape [M]. China Film Press. 2013.

  11. WANG Baohua, CHEN Zhiming. Chinatowns around the World: Gilded Ghetto, Ethnopolis, and Cultural Diaspora[M]. East China Normal University Press. 2019.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Xindi Yang.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Yang, X. The imagery of “Chinatown” in Film. Int. Commun. Chin. Cult 9, 85–97 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40636-022-00246-4

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40636-022-00246-4

Keywords

  • Chinatown imagery
  • Chinese Story
  • Intermediary space