Scott Diffrient’s article published in Quarterly Review of Film and Video

Professor Scott Diffrient has published the article “A Critical History of Chinese Film Remakes: From Shanghai to Hong Kong to Beijing and Beyond” in Quarterly Review of Film and Video.


As James Aston and Lin Feng point out in the Introduction of their recently published volume Renegotiating Film Genres in East Asian Cinemas and Beyond, ‘East Asian films from the very beginning not only show characteristics of innovative creativity in terms of narrative and aesthetic hybridity, but also demonstrate cross-border and cross-cultural mobility and interaction’ (Aston and Feng 2020). This is especially apparent to anyone who studies cinematic remaking throughout the region, a border-crossing activity that dates back to the first decades of the twentieth century. Although a comprehensive overview of remaking practices in East Asia is beyond the scope of this essay, several discernable trends across the history of the motion picture medium bear mentioning, especially if we are to gain an understand of this inherently intertextual mode of production, promotion and reception as it moves from specific national contexts to transnational circuits of meaning. At the risk of overstating the belief—widely held, if not universally accepted—that the various film industries comprising East Asian cinema have ‘always been transnational’ (Hsaio-peng Lu 1997), I feel compelled to emphasize that the motion pictures currently being made in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan employ virtually the same kinds of hybridized, iterative storytelling techniques found in the earliest examples of narrative fiction filmmaking.