Popular history and the Chinese martial arts biopic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the popular uses of history in Hong Kong-Chinese biographical films about martial arts masters, focusing particularly on Ronny Yu’s Fearless/Huo Yuanjia (2006) and Wilson Yip’s Ip Man (2008) – two films that have been very popular in Asia. It considers the following questions: How is history being used? What kinds of histories are being created? And for whom? The article begins with a brief overview of the martial arts biopic before exploring how these films promote a problematically gendered, ethnic or national identity whereby ‘Chineseness’ is disarticulated from the really-existing nation-state, while also creating other types of ‘imagined communities’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-66
Number of pages25
JournalHistory Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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