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The Asian aesthetic

Western film used to give just an occasional nod to the east. Now Hollywood is in thrall to Korean horror, Japanese experiment and Chinese pyrotechnics. India's industry is the largest, but it is in Buddhist and Taoist Asia that a real aesthetic alternative has emerged to change the face of world cinema

By Mark Cousins   November 2004

At the end of August, a Chinese film, Hero, topped the US box office chart for the first time, despite already being available on DVD. A lush kung fu film in the manner of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, it was directed by former cinematographer Zhang Yimou. Screen International called it “one of the most eagerly awaited films in Asian film history.” It also went to number one in France and cut a swathe through the box office in many Asian countries. This is unheard of, yet Zhang’s follow-up, the even more beautiful House of Flying Daggers, looks set to follow…

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