Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-x

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Acknowledgements

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p. xi

I would like to acknowledge the following persons who have each in their own way facilitated the writing and research of this book: Colin Day, Phoebe Chan, Delphine Ip, David Bordwell, Shan Ding, Jupiter Wong, Winnie Fu, Patrick Tam, Louisa Wei, Meaghan Morris, Adrian Danks...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-29

This monograph is a study of a genre and the work of a director in the contemporary Hong Kong cinema. The equation of genre and director opens a question about the nature of the Hong Kong film industry and its structure of genres. Since the industry employs filmmakers to...

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2. From The Big Heat to Lifeline

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pp. 31-63

The films to be discussed in this chapter were produced within a ten-year period from 1988 to 1997: The Big Heat (1988), The Heroic Trio (1993), Executioners (1993), Loving You (1995) and Lifeline (1997). In this period, To also directed The Barefooted Kid (1993), an action film in the martial arts genre. The Barefooted Kid is a Qing-period costume movie, a remake...

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3. Nucleus of the Milky Way

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pp. 65-100

In this chapter, we will discuss a cluster of action films that Johnnie To produced for Milkyway Image, the production company that he founded in 1996. Its first production was Too Many Ways to Be Number One, released in 1997. I will however begin the discussion with...

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4. Directed by Johnnie To

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pp. 101-144

The year 1999 saw a retrospective dedicated to Johnnie To organized by the Hong Kong International Film Festival, the first such retrospective on To, and the first official recognition of To as a major filmmaker in the contemporary Hong Kong cinema. The focus of the retrospective was on the Milkyway films where his credit of producer did not prevent...

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5. The Uneven Auteur

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pp. 145-176

The career of Johnnie To has tended to move within a wide berth of genre films which can be fairly divided into “commercial” or “personal” projects. For those films in the former category, To keeps his eyes carefully trained on the market, taking few risks, producing mass-entertainments geared towards avoiding the pitfall of box-office failure attached...

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6. Postscript

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pp. 177-198

This postscript updates the monograph to include Johnnie To’s three most recent films, Election (2005), its sequel Election 2 (2006), and Exiled (2006). All three films show the director engaging in a dialectical discourse with his own work in the action genre discussed in the previous chapters. ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 199-213

This monograph has set out to demonstrate To’s auteur function in the genre cinema. I have tried to avoid taking a naïve romantic view of To as auteur. His films are vital expressions of the Hong Kong film industry in which To himself has a stake in maintaining and preserving. Only in this...

Appendix 1: Author’s Interview with Johnnie To

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pp. 215-244

Appendix 2: Johnnie To on Election

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pp. 245-248

Notes

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pp. 249-272

Bibliography

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pp. 273-279

Filmography

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pp. 281-282

Index

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pp. 283-294