Chinese Face/Off

The Transnational Popular Culture of Hong Kong
Author: Kwai-Cheung Lo
Analyzing pop culture as a reflection of complex identities forged against a global backdrop
Paper – $23
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/2005
Cloth: 04/25/2005
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About the Book

Jackie Chan's high-flying stunts, giant pandas, and even the unintentionally hilarious English subtitles that often accompany Hong Kong's films are among the many targets of Kwai-Cheung Lo's in-depth study of Hong Kong popular culture.

Drawing on current concepts of globalization as well as the theories of Jacques Lacan and Slavoj Zizek, Chinese Face/Off explores the way in which fantasy operates in relation to ethnic and national identity. The book offers a critical perspective for approaching the question of cultural otherness by problematizing what it means to be Chinese and explaining how Hong Kong popular culture serves as an imaginary screen for its many compatriots seeking to understand what it means to be "Chinese" in a global age.

Examining topics including film, newspaper culture, theme parks, and kung-fu comics as well as the interaction of the Hong Kong film industry with Hollywood, Lo uncovers Hong Kong's importantly "transnational" identity defined in terms of complex relationships with mainland China, other diasporic communities (like Taiwan), and the West.

About the Author

Kwai-Cheung Lo is an associate professor with the Department of English Language and Literature at Hong Kong Baptist University.


"Chinese Face/Off is an important and timely study that situates Hong Kong media within the global forces that form it and against which it defines itself. Lo's analyses of specific films are impressive and his close attention to texts admirably illuminates broader issues of ethnicity, location, and identity."--Gina Marchetti, author of Romance and the "Yellow Peril": Race, Sex, and Discursive Strategies in Hollywood Fiction

"Lo's inspiring work transcends typical treatments which fall too easily on current postmodernist theories. This concise, concrete study was a pleasure to read."--Tony Williams, professor and head of film studies at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

"Chinese Face/Off is an intelligent and timely study of Hong Kong's popular culture. Lo Kwai-cheung's sophisticated critical analyses provides a rigorous interrogation of the notion of ‘Chineseness.'"--Esther C.M. Yau, chair of the Asian Studies department and professor of film and new media at Occidental College