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History Of Hong Kong Cinema Essay

2110 words - 8 pages

The History of Hong Kong Cinema"What do swordplay, gunplay, melodrama and ghosts have in common? Hong Kong cinema," according to Film Studies Professor David Cook (Cook, 1999). Fighting with swords and guns, exaggerated drama and a bent for the supernatural--ghosts, vampires and the spirits of dead ancestors--are four basic ingredients in the last 20 years of films from Hong Kong.The history of film is an important one today. Many people in our society today may see film as simply a form of entertainment; however, it is indeed more than that. Film is a medium of expression that is unlike no other. It can tell many tales of many different types of people throughout history. Film is also a good reflection of culture. The art of film can often be seen imitating life and telling the story of a nation and their peoplesHong Kong cinema can be divided into six generations. The term "generations" is referred by the different phases of Honk Kong film history, moreover each generation are not completely different from one another. A particular generation may share something in common with the previous generation, while also passing something onto the next generation. In a sense, the history of Hong Kong film can be said to have gone through a sort of evolution from its beginnings to the present.The first and second generations of film began during the 1890's and continued through the beginning part of the early 1900's. These two generations of Chinese film are often seen as the pioneers for Chinese cinema. Many of these films consisted of operatic shorts and short comic skits. Eventually the Chinese would go on to make full-length film features. The first film length Chinese film ever made was created in 1921 and was entitled Yan Ruishe. Some years later, a new trend in film began. Many dancers' ad stage performers began to move from the stage to the screen (Fonoroff, 1997). This may have seemed like a good fit at the time however, many of the dancers-turned-actors were not successful. One actress who was successful was Ruan Lingyu. Unfortunately, she committed suicide in 1935. Stephanie Donald tells us that in her suicide note, "she was in despair at gossip about her private life" (Charles, 1977). It is interesting to see that even in the early stages of film in China, there were the same types of problems that celebrities often face in modern day Hollywood. It seems that any culture tends to have a fascination with the lives of the celebrities of their time.The third generation of Chinese film shows an evolution concerning the way the camera is used and the editing of films. These changes mirror the camera style of Hollywood of the time. According to Cook some of these techniques are, "two- to three-head dialogue sequences to introduce and develop story lines, jump cuts, and cuts on action to keep several narrative strands in place without losing momentum or suspense, and dream sequences or flashbacks" (Cook, 1999). Two figures who best represent the...

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