from Pop Matters.
For a long time, those in the know only referenced Sir Run Run and Runme Shaw as the kingpins of Hong Kong and Taiwanese filmmaking. No matter the poorly dubbed and obscenely edited examples of the brothers’ work, Shaw studios became the bellwether for an entire home video revolution. Think about it. Before the advent of the VCR and specialist distribution companies, the works of artists like Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, and Gordon Liu were left to dingy drive-ins and The Late Late Show, if they were shown at all.
With cable and the sell through title came a market desperate for product and companies willing to release anything to make a profit. Thus, the martial arts movie came into its own. Today, it’s considered the standard bearer for action, adventure, period piece polish, and good old fashioned ass-kicking.
So who are some of the luminaries working now. Who have replaced veterans like Liu Chia-liang (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin), Yuen Woo-ping (Drunken Master) and Ching Siu-tung (A Chinese Ghost Story)? Below you will find our choices for the 10 Greatest Directors from Chinese Territories still working today. They run the gamut from virtual unknowns to an Academy Award winning auteur.
In between, we learn there is more to the Chinese commercial movie industry than crime, honor, and wushu. In at least two cases, the filmmakers featured work within everyday life, though they occasionally fall back on the flashy industry story standards. Consider this a primer, a starting point for any investigation of the form (the latest from the director at number ten, now out on DVD and Blu-ray, would be a good place to start). In fact, let’s begin there, shall we:
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