Early Cinema in Asia

Early Cinema in Asia

Edited by Nick Deocampo
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 09/19/2017
Format: Hardback 9 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-02536-4
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Early Cinema in Asia explores how cinema became a popular medium in the world’s largest and most diverse continent. Beginning with the end of Asia’s colonial period in the 19th century, contributors to this volume document the struggle by pioneering figures to introduce the medium of film to the vast continent, overcoming geographic, technological, and cultural difficulties. As an early form of globalization, film’s arrival and phenomenal growth throughout various Asian countries penetrated not only colonial territories but also captivated collective states of imagination. With the coming of the 20th century, the medium that began as mere entertainment became a means for communicating many of the cultural identities of the region’s ethnic nationalities, as they turned their favorite pastime into an expression of their cherished national cultures. Covering diverse locations, including China, India, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Iran, and the countries of the Pacific Islands, contributors to this volume reveal the story of early cinema in Asia, helping us to understand the first seeds of a medium that has since grown deep roots in the region.

Author Bio

Nick Deocampo is Associate Professor at the UP Film Institute of the College of Mass Communication, University of the Philippines. He is a filmmaker, author, and scholar who has pioneered several film activities in the Philippines, including the resurgence of interest and study of independent cinema and early cinema.


“Deacampo’s book is a much-needed addition to the field of early cinema.”
 — Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Beginnings of Cinema in Asia / Nick Deocampo
1. Early Asian Cinema and the Public Sphere / Wimal Dissanayake
2. Nationalism, Contradiction, and Identity: or, A Reconsideration of Early Cinema in the Philippines / Charles Musser
3. Film’s Initial Reception in China during Its Period of Infancy / Ritsu Yamamoto
4. Hong Kong’s Cinematic Beginnings, 1896-1908 / Wai-ming Law
5. How Cinema Came and Stayed in Taiwan / Daw-ming Lee
6. One Print in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Film Industry and Culture in 1910s Japan / Aaron Gerow
7. Distributing Scandinavia: Nordisk Film in Asia / Nadi Tofighian
8. The Civilizing Cinema Mission: Colonial Beginnings of Film in Indochina / Tilman Baumgartel
9. A National Cinema takes Root in a Colonial Regime: Early Cinema in India / P. K. Nair
10. Colonial Beginnings of Cinema in the Philippines / Nick Deocampo
11. From Shadowplay to the Silver Screen: Early Malay(sian) Cinema / Hassan Abdul Muthalib
12. Iranian Cinema: Before the Revolution / Shahin Parhami
13. Royalty Shapes Early Thai Film Culture / Anchalee Chaiworaporn
14. "I was born but…": Some Thoughts on the Origins of Cinema in Asia / Stephen Bottomore
15. Before Moana: Early Cinema of the Pacific / Stephen Bottomore
16. Early Cinema in Central Asia: The Start of an Ascent / Stephen Bottomore
Appendix: Chronology of Film Beginnings in Asia / Nick Deocampo
Selected Bibliography