© Film still from "Chungking Express" by the courtesy of Block 2 Pictures Inc. All rights reserved.
Social changes in the 1980s led to a shift from the kungfu genre in film towards melodrama and comedy and consequently new explorations in the gender-positioning or portrayal of film characters. Female characters were no longer restricted to being femme fatales and objects of desire, but rather possessed their own independent personalities and motivations. Similarly, male roles were not described as only strong and protective, but also embodied gentle and vulnerable emotional attributes. This change has allowed unconventional cross-gendered portrayals to regularly appear in mainstream films.