Stephen Teo

in Director in Action

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print July 1993 | ISBN: 9789622098398
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206823 | DOI:

Series: Director in Action


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This chapter reviews Johnnie To's enunciating role as an auteur of genre film through the convention of the happy ending, as a method of drawing certain conclusions about To's achievements to date. The happy ending is an ironic way of ending this epilogue, as will be made clear, but since To's career is ongoing and likely to contain more revelations and surprises, this chapter cannot make conclusions about his career as such, but about the way his films have ended — as a means to indicate To's contributions to genre and the art of cinema. To's ability to unsettle our perception of genre as a world of pleasure and closure is all part of his vision of Hong Kong on the road to Avici, but his action cinema carries a dialectical weight — fatalism carries meaning and redemption, thus the destiny of his films is something else entirely. The final action in the action films of Johnnie To is the act of inducing thought.

Keywords: Johnnie To; auteur; genre film; happy ending; Hong Kong; action cinema; fatalism

Chapter.  6329 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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