I wish to express my deep gratitude to Professor Roger Horrocks for showing me how to pursue an academic career.
The book is based on the doctoral thesis I completed in 2002. I am deeply indebted to my supervisors, Professor Roger Horrocks and Professor Paul Clark, for their guidance and encouragement. I also owe a debt of gratitude to Associate Professor Annamarie Jagose whose intelligence and sharpness have greatly benefited this study.
I am grateful to the University of Auckland for a doctoral scholarship (1998–2001), a Graduate Research Fund in 1998 and 1999, a New Staff Research Fund in 2003 and a sabbatical leave in the autumn of 2006. I am also grateful to the Faculty of Arts for a Faculty Research Fund in 2005 and 2006 and to the Department of Film, Television and Media Studies for a Departmental PBRF Fund in 2005 and 2006.
As for locating film stills, I received valuable assistance from Mr. Gu Guoqing, Mr. David Scott, Professor Lin Shaoxiong and Professor Li Daoxin.
I always benefit from conversations with colleagues and friends such as Professor Duncan Petrie, Professor Nick Perry, Professor Laurence Simmons, Professor Shi Chuan, Dr. Gina Marchetti, and Mr. Longtin Shum. My special thanks to Professor Mao Sihui and Professor Fang Jianzhuang for their constant moral support.
My special thanks also to Mr. Colin Day and Ms. Phoebe Chan of Hong Kong University Press for their efficient and supportive handling of the project. The anonymous reader of the Hong Kong University Press made many constructive comments for revision.
Part of Chapter 1 was published as “The Ideology of the City in Modern Chinese Cinema”, in New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, 2(2), 2000, pp. 91–106; a section of Chapter 3 appeared as “From behind the wall: The representation of gender and sexuality in modern Chinese film”, in Asian Journal of Communication, 11(2), 2001, pp. 1–17; an earlier (extended) version of Chapter 5 appeared as “Days of sunshine — A comparative study of British and Chinese ‘youth problem’ films”, in Tamkang Review, 33 (2), 2002, pp. 77–101; part of Chapter 2 was included as a chapter of Youth/Culture/Shock: (p.x) Teenagers in International Cinema, eds. Timothy Shary and Alexandra Seibel, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007, pp. 59–70. I thank these journals and the University of Texas Press for allowing me to reprint the materials here.
I owe a special debt of gratitude to my two sisters and their families for taking over the burden of looking after my parents. My deepest gratitude goes to my mother-in-law, to my wife Grace and our children Roger, Angel and Matthew (Potter). Without their help and encouragement, I would not have completed this study at all.