Introduction: Chinese Stars
Stars exist beyond their performance in a particular film or body of films. As a core institution of the cinema worldwide, stars personalize social meaning, cultural identity and ideology for different audiences, at different times, and in different locations (Dyer 1979; Dyer 1986; Gledhill 1991; McDonald 1998; Geraghty 2000). But stardom as a system transcends the individual. All stars - whether 'minor' stars like Anna May Wong, megastars like Bruce Lee or cult stars like Brigitte Lin - are discursive practices beyond the star body, and they speak, more generally, to cinema as an industry that operates within and across specific societies and territories. Unlike Hollywood star discourse, however, Chinese film stardom is a little-known phenomenon in western scholarship even though many stars are well-known and some like Bruce Lee are written about extensively. This scholarly neglect inspired our special issue, 'Chinese Stars and Stardom', a foretaste of a larger collection of essays that we have co-edited on this topic.
Journal of Chinese Cinemas