chapter  4
The shaping of a cinema
Pages 18

The reasons for this fairly limited focus, however, were not quite as simple as some of the parochial copy that filled Amoy-dialect film programmes would have theatre-goers believe. The selection of such plots did not originate in some ingrained Hokkien inclination to escape into Chinese folklore, or in an antipathy to the martial arts or ‘everyday life’ that Cantonese and Mandarinspeaking audiences supposedly preferred. Specific political and economic forces determined what Amoy-dialect films were about in these early years, in the same way as the nature of the industry itself had been determined by trends that were specific to sections of the Hokkien-speaking world in the postwar years (notably the prevalence of Philippine-Chinese financing, the existence of ‘Little Fujian’ in Hong Kong, and the fact that the last substantial portion of non-communist China also happened to be an island of Hokkien speakers).