As one of the perennial interpretive paradigms of film studies, auteurism has been subject to intense debate over the years. In the context of Hollywood historiography, the concept has often been framed as a “folly” that reduces film history to a catalog of a few dozen exceptional directors. However, the auteur theory has rarely been challenged in the context of East Asian film studies in the West, where, for instance, Japanese film history is often boiled down to the “Big Three” directors (Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, and Ozu); Chinese cinema is typically reduced to award-winning works by “Fifth Generation” filmmakers (Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige) or Hong Kong New Wave auteurs (Wong Kar-wai and John Woo); and Korean cinema is sometimes held up as the home of “Asia Extreme” auteurs (Park Chan-wook and Kim Ki-duk).

Given the power of auteurism in disseminating national cinema outside of its original cultural context, a publication...

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