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Having unleashed Demon, the Song is now welcomed into the gang and begins sporting the traditional "black suit" of the gang members. Here, again, it is important to remark on the deviation from stereotype to contemporary national image that wardrobe and props bring to the film. There are no robes of silk, no long, silky geisha looking women waiting on men in the community baths. Rather, Landlady, one of the protagonists in the film, barely makes a move without a burning cigarette hanging out of her mouth. She is in white satin lingerie throughout most of the film. While Landlord is often seen in his silk robe, and is often being beat by Landlady. Landlord and Landlady and even Demon serve to reinforce the positive image of Asian family in that Landlady and Landlord are not elderly, but late 40s, and Demon is definitely 50 ish.
Together, good or bad, these characters give new meaning to the term "youthful." Even though, at the end of the day, the hero who emerges to save the housing project from the Demon is young. It supports the long-standing idea that has been associated with value in older citizens. That same sense of relevant tradition is conveyed when we see the Chinese noodle maker, who still makes the noodles in the old tradition of riding the bamboo pole. These are reinforcements of significant national imagery, and perhaps even imagery that the viewer without being focused on media analysis of the film, would no doubt miss. Certainly on a global scale, on a foreign distribution route, the viewer would miss those subtleties. A viewer, for instance, in the American market who is relatively new to the more accurately depicted image of the Asian, would certainly be without much need for those subtleties. In the national market, however, there is a need to reinforce those bonds of family and the responsibilities of youth to the family circle.
In the global community, there is an interest in the community and cultures of our world neighbors. Stereotypical images are being dispelled through film products, and positive messages of sharing, community, justice, and the celebration of diversity are being made available to the world-wide film viewing market through film distribution. Even though there are many obstacles to overcome, film is a contributing factor in bridging the cultural gaps, and in erasing negative images and resolving myths while at the same time providing entertaining genres to national and foreign film markets.
Kung Fu Hustle was a product of the Chinese filmmaking market in Hong Kong, and has been distributed on a world-wide basis, and is available in the United States where the cult following of the film has generated enough interest in it for the filmmakers to embark upon a Kung Fu Hustle 2. The film has bridged the cultural gaps, and made audiences aware of the rich body of work that is available from the Hong Kong market sector.
Like the Brazilian filmmakers of the 1960s, the Chinese film industry enjoys great latitude between the artist and the politics of the nation. In Kung Fu Hustle, the interpretation of the environment is one less subtle though than that enjoyed by 1970s Brazilian filmmakers. For instance, China's strict laws on the number of children couples are permitted to have is put into focus by a background poster of two babies facing each other in what looks like as a confrontational face-off. The rule of evil is exemplified through use of lighting in the film. While the gang has power and control, the general lighting is dark. Once the hero overcomes the gang and the palm of the Buddha has been returned to the earth, there is an immediate lightness that becomes apparent in the scenery, as though the sun is finally shining over the land again. It serves to reconnect viewers on the national level to the traditional system of values. On the international level, it distinguishes between the stereotypical and traditional images of the Chinese Asian community.
Hong Kong film has only begun to compete with the Hollywood film market, and there is every reason to believe that Hong Kong filmmakers will enjoy success.
Chanan, Michael. "The Changing Geography of Third Cinema." Screen 38.4 (1997): 372-388. Questia. 23 May 2008 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=98737571.
A lugo, Marvin. "4 Authorship, Globalization, and the New Identity of Latin American Cinema." Rethinking Third Cinema. Ed. Anthony R. Guneratne and Wimal Dissanayake. London: Routledge, 2003. 103-125. Questia. 23 May 2008 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=104539205.[continue]
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