Hong Kong Film and Cultural Identity

Recent conflicts between mainland Chinese authorities and citizens of Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) have foregrounded the extent to which Hong Kong culture is both ‘Chinese’ in a broad sense and has its own historical trajectory and flavor. This is reflected nowhere so much as in Hong Kong films, whose evolving styles, genres, and stars have engendered a distinctly local cultural form.

This course will be both an introduction to and overview of the history of Hong Kong cinema, as well as an exploration into how film and media both reflect and contribute to cultural identity in Hong Kong. The course is divided into three units, History, Genre, and Identity, and we’ll be watching a variety of hard-to-find films from as early as the 1950s through the present day.

Among the films we’ll be watching are:

The Greatest Civil War on Earth (Wong Tin-lam, 1961)

Hong Kong Nocturne (Inoue Umetsugu, 1967)

A Better Tomorrow (John Woo, 1986)

From Beijing with Love (Stephen Chow/Lee Lik-chi, 1994)

Days of Being Wild (Wong Kar-wai, 1990)

My Life as McDull (Toe Yuen, 2001)