In this talk, Joyleen Christensen, Visiting Scholar at UBC’s Centre for Cinema Studies, will argue that the placement of celebrities within a nationalist discourse, whilst hardly a new phenomenon, is an approach deserving of re-evaluation in light of the recent recognition of transnational cultural flows within film theory. As well, this approach is worth re-evaluation considering the particular complexities of Hong Kong’s historical position and the rising power of China on the global stage.
Briefly examining the success of Hong Kong film and recording star, Andy Lau, in the Pan-Asian domain will allow us to test theories about how cultural identity is expressed through popular culture. Part of this discussion will be dependent upon a deeper understanding of Lau’s local star persona, which, to a large extent, was shaped by his actions around the time of Hong Kong’s reunification with mainland China.
Specifically, Lau’s involvement in the production of the film Made in Hong Kong – one of the few significant pieces of Handover-themed cinema to be released during that period – combined with his promotion of re-Sinification through various musical texts, provides an effective demonstration of the star’s increasingly flexible positioning of his own cultural identity.
Biography: Joyleen Christensen is a Lecturer in film and literature at the University of Newcastle, Australia, and is the Deputy Program Convenor of the Open Foundation enabling program at the University’s Ourimbah campus. She earned baccalaureates in arts (film and history) and economics before completing postgraduate degrees in theatre studies (University of New South Wales) and tertiary education (University of Newcastle).
Joyleen’s chief research interest is popular culture, specifically, celebrity and fan cultures in film, television, and music. Her recently completed doctorate featured an examination of the production and consumption of contemporary Asian celebrity against significant social and historical movements in regional and transnational cultural relations over the last thirty years. She is currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Cinema Studies, where she is researching the reception of Asian popular culture across national borders—specifically, the diasporic fandom of Hong Kong film and recording star, Andy Lau, in North America.