1st Edition

Migration and Identity in British East and Southeast Asian Cinema

By Wing-Fai Leung Copyright 2023
    106 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    An emerging interest in a British East and Southeast Asian identity after decades of political and social exclusion has coincided with periods of economic and political challenges in the UK. In Migration and Identity in British East and Southeast Asian Cinema, Leung Wing-Fai argues that this explosive context has created rich and diverse forms of storytelling and an accented cinematic language.

    By offering close readings of key contemporary films and positioning them in a wider slate of releases by British East and Southeast Asian filmmakers alongside Anglophone film histories in the Global North, this book sheds light on a developing field and engenders new ways of understanding British cinema and society. The author explores changing representational politics in contemporary cinema and argues for the cinematic visibility of a hitherto silenced community. Drawing on theoretical frames from sociological, film and cultural studies to critically engage with the textual and visual language of the case studies, Leung claims the place of British East and Southeast Asian Cinema as a film and cultural movement.

    Highlighting diversity among the British East and Southeast Asian community, pushing boundaries in its intersectional approach to ethnicity, race, gender and sexuality, and proposing a critical framework for academic studies on diasporic film-making in the UK, this nuanced and innovative study will interest researchers, teachers and students in a range of Humanities and Liberal Arts subjects, including Film and Media Studies, Regional/Area Studies (Asia), and arts, cultural and creative productions from the East and Southeast Asian diaspora.

    List of Figures


    Introduction: British East and Southeast Asian Cinema as a Cultural Movement

    Chapter 1: Time, Space and the Chinese Migrant in Guo Xiaolu's Works

    Chapter 2: Representations of Gendered Labour, Sex Work and Affect 

    Chapter 3: Lilting: On the Accented Politics of a Queer Narrative




    Leung Wing-Fai is a Senior Lecturer in Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London. She researches East Asian films and media, intersectionality, gender and race, and cultural and creative labour. Since 2020, she has initiated collaborative community engagement and research projects that combat anti-East and Southeast Asian racism.

    ‘Engaged scholarship at its best – at once three deeply sensitive and extensive explorations of British East and Southeast Asian films and a powerful intervention that inscribes British ESEA culture as a structure of feeling to push back against the racist violence that followed the Covid-19 pandemic.’  

    Professor Chris Berry, King’s College London 

    ‘Through an insightful analysis of three films –She, a Chinese; The Receptionist and Lilting– Leung Wing-Fai makes an important case for British East and Southeast Asian cinema as a significant emerging film and cultural movement. She deftly demonstrates how through an accented cinema that makes visible a range of migratory perspectives from China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Cambodia, filmmakers are powerfully carving out an alternative and contrapuntal creative space.’

    Dr Diana Yeh, City, University of London