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Last year, Asian film dominated at Cannes. This year the west is back. But it has taken a lesson from the east about the meaning and consequences of violence

By Mark Cousins   July 2005

The big story in world cinema is that Asia is on a roll. Last year, for the first time ever, a Chinese film, Hero, went to number one at the US box office. Now there’s hardly an action movie made that doesn’t nick the balletic “wire-fu” combat techniques which originated in Hong Kong. In the horror genre, Hollywood can put up its hands to eastern filmmakers and say, “You won.” 

Asia is winning because it has found a balance between cinematic action and repose. Its movies can be as kinetic and violent as Hollywood’s, but Buddhist and Taoist notions of…

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