<i>Wuxia</i> from Literature to Cinema

Stephen Teo

in Chinese Martial Arts Cinema

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780748632855
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670833 | DOI:
Wuxia from Literature to Cinema

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The literary and philosophical traditions of the historical xia (knights-errant) are investigated. The cinematic genre began in the 1920s in the Shanghai film industry (then the capital of the Chinese cinema), essentially with the success of The Burning of the Red Lotus Temple, released in 1928. The film’s success led to a long-running serial adventure and to copycat productions of the same ilk – this phenomenon coming under the rubric of the ‘Burning Revolution’ in the Shanghai film industry – thus laying the foundation for the popularity of the genre that would last until the present. The serial nature as well as the fantastic characteristics of the cinematic genre itself was rooted in the literary tradition of long novels with a typical ‘to be continued’ cliff-hanging structure.

Keywords: Literary xia; the Shanghai cinema; wuxia novels; serials; ‘Burning Revolution‘

Chapter.  9771 words. 

Subjects: Film

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