A ‘narrow world, strewn with prohibitions’: Chang Cheh’s The Assassin and the 1967 Hong Kong riots
- Publisher: Intellect
Chang Cheh is one of the most influential directors in Hong Kong martial-arts cinema, and his film Da cike/The Assassin is a significant work produced at a key moment both in Chang’s early career and in the development of the increasingly violent 1960s swordplay (wuxia) genre that led ultimately to the appearance of the kungfu film in the 1970s. The Assassin was made during the Leftist Riots of 1967, a ‘watershed’ in Hong Kong’s modern history. In order to understand the changing fantasies of violence in Chang’s wuxia cinema during this period, this article makes a close reading of The Assassin in relation to the 1967 riots through Frantz Fanon’s account of the effects of violence on the colonial subject. It argues for a close relationship between Chang’s cinematic violence and the real-world political violence which was erupting at the moment of its production and first reception.
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