This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Hong Kong Post Colonial Cinema Essay

4669 words - 19 pages

The Construction of the ‘Western Other’ in Hong Kong Post-colonial Cinema

Hong Kong has always remained a very unique city, one which is said to have ‘a Western past, an Eastern future’. Since its colonisation by the British in the 1860s, it has maintained to a very large extent its Chinese identity and its connection to its Motherland, while at the same time, has frequent contact with the Western world, politically, economically, and culturally. Hong Kong’s unique position has made the city a vibrant international metropolis that acts as a bridge between East and West. Yet after it was returned to China in 1997, this former British colony has been constantly reassessing its British past, struggling to find its new position and redefining its identity.

The quest for identity quickly finds its place in the construction of the notion of ‘Hong Kong-ness’ in films. The local cinema has remained as a powerful cultural institution, both reflecting and intervening in the discourses of alterities and selfhood. It is therefore not surprising that in local films, the cinematic representations of Hong Kong have been seen as inextricably interwoven with the triangular relationship between the British coloniser, the Chinese motherland, and Hong Kong itself. Since its inception in the 1910s, the Hong Kong film industry has enjoyed much independence from colonial control, yet simultaneously much association with Western culture. Many films openly deal with the theme of ‘East meets West’ in which ‘Hong Kongese’ identity is often expressed in "transnational settings" against the existence of a Western Other, in particular through the portrayal of Westerners visiting Asia, and vice versa. After the handover, "Hong Kong" as a geopolitical entity and a national identity has become the subject of representation in more films than ever before. In the midst of a struggle for a new self, Hong Kong cinema has certainly emerged as the ideal cultural space in which the notions of Hong Kong nationhood, identity, and alterities are defined, explored and articulated.

This paper deals with the construction of the ‘Western Other’ in Hong Kong post-colonial cinema by exploring the representation of the Western world in two recent commercial films which deal with the theme of ‘East meets West’: Qian Ji Bian (Dante Lam & Donnie Yen, 2003) and The Touch (Peter Pau, 2002). My focus will be the interactions between Chinese and Western characters as presented by the films’ plot, editing, and mise-en-scene. I will argue that while both films begin by establishing clear binary oppositional codes between the Chinese world and the West, they quickly enter a process of negotiation and renegotiation about the relationship with the Western world, and gradually engage in a pursuit for a compromise. Finally, both films end with a celebration of a reconciliation with the West.

The themes of cultural representations between East and West in post-colonial studies have been most...

Find Another Essay On Hong Kong Post-colonial Cinema

The Industrialization and Social Developments of Hong Kong

1748 words - 7 pages unconventional colonial entity in the modern world (Emerson, 2008). It was referred to as decolonization without independence, which has been an important theme in the political developments of colonies. The British showed an inconsistent attitude towards communism in Hong Kong based on the Island policy changes and increased rise of communism in the post-1945 period when communism was spreading rapidly in China (Meyer, 2000). Hong Kong presented

Civil culture in Hong Kong Essay

1573 words - 6 pages IntroductionAs British colonial rule in Hong Kong has come an end, the "new" local government finds itself in a political environment that is unprecedentedly turbulent. The upholding of "one country two system" has resumed the sovereignty over the territory and the involvements of China in Hong Kong domestic affairs have inevitably increase so as the dampening effect in democratization. However the "new" government led by Mr. Tung has not yet

Fruit Chan's Made in Hong Kong

2186 words - 9 pages film featuring the Hong Kong society and culture in 1997, particularly the social marginality and violence in juvenile delinquency . This paper will assess how the film expresses nation’s sentiments by portraying the livelihood of four teenagers, namely Autumn Moon, Ping, Ah Lung and Susan, and the Hong Kong social environment in 1997 during the transition of the Hong Kong Handover. 2. Literature Review “Death and Hong Kong Cinema” written by

Comparing the Democratic Progress in Taiwan and Hong Kong

1794 words - 7 pages involvement in the process of democratization. In Hong Kong, the whole process of the democratization was under the careful planning of the British government since the PRC government had great influence on Hong Kong geopolitically. A baseline then existed of which the colonial government solely and tightly controlled the administrative power. On one hand the British government had not intended to succumb to the legislature of the policy, on the other

Separation of Powers under the HK Basic Law

6439 words - 26 pages of powers between the executive and legislature existed during most of Hong Kong's 150 year history as a British colony. Instead Miners (1998) likens the "awesome" powers exercised by the colonial Governors sent out from London to rule Hong Kong under British rule to the powers of the absolute monarchs who ruled England in ancient times.15 In addition to being head of the executive, these Governors made all locally-enacted laws. The role of the

A Comparion of Two Musems on Hong Kong´s Maritime History

1063 words - 5 pages In November, I visited two museums about Hong Kong’s maritime history, Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence and Hong Kong Maritime Museum respectively. Though the details of their exhibition are quite similar, many differences can be found between them as Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence is officially organised, while Hong Kong Maritime Museum is private. The report will compare their similarities and differences in various aspects. About

Do Hong Kong people showed a high concern towards national events and high recognition on their national identity

383 words - 2 pages Chinese after the earthquake incident. They donate money, took part in volunteering and in remembrance events to express their sorrow, concern about the incident and sympathy for relatives of the victims. This united Hong Kong people and enhanced their sense of identity.Secondly, many citizens, including the Post-80's youths, participated in the June Forth Candlelight Vigil in Victoria Park in 2012. The June Forth incident was happened more than 20

Insignificant Moments in the History of Hong Kong

2132 words - 9 pages like Lam Yan Kuen and their daily lives. Through the stories of these nonentities, Xu Xi recounts the history of Hong Kong in today's voice. Her stories showcase the tension between the East-West relationships and the ambivalent feelings of Hong Kong people during post-colonialism and handover. Response to the story In this part, I will analyze some features (e.g. narrative perspective of the writer, setting, main character, plot line

Why people pay tax

1281 words - 6 pages . Accessed 26 April,2014. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2006-12/19/content_762110.htm “Reforming Hong Kong’s Tax System” ,The Hong Kong Government. Accessed 26 April,2014. http://www.taxreform.gov.hk/eng/pdf/Chapter_01.pdf “Brief of Other Options for Broadening the Tax Base” ,The Hong Kong Government. Accessed 26 April,2014. http://www.taxreform.gov.hk/eng/pdf/Other_options.pdf “Democratic groups propose arrival tax of up to HK$100 to stop mainland visitors”, South China Morning Post, 10 February 2014. Accessed 26 April,2014. http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1425649/democratic-groups-propose-arrival-tax-hk100-stop-mainland-visitors

Justification of Love

2672 words - 11 pages to the best destinations in Asia (DiscoverHongKong). With delectable pastries, dim sum, floating islands, the mixed cultures of Cantonese Chinese with the contemporary ex-British colonial period, expansive skylines and a deep natural harbor, Hong Kong has become a place to hold gatherings from all over the world to celebrate architecture demonstrations, international business meetings or fashion shows. Hong Kong can definitely keep the travelers

Colonialism in Jackie Chan Films

3277 words - 13 pages . Many of Chan’s best and most well-known works are attacks on colonialism and racism, not just in Hong Kong, but also across the world. At the same time Chan is making these rather blatant anti-colonial films, other films of his seem to be defending colonialism while reinforcing negative stereotypes about the Chinese people and even other races. Some of his films even seem to do both, attack and defend colonialism, at the same time. It is my goal

Similar Essays

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

Wong Kar Wai Chungking Express Genre Essay

664 words - 3 pages minimise the risk of making a financial loss. The Hong Kong new wave and innovations in genre: As David Bordwell says, “Hong Kong cinema has been an industry for more than sixty years” (2000:03). Different from some post-war European or the Fifth Generation Chinese cinema, Hong Kong cinema never had any form of state subsidy. As a result, it “cannot therefore reject commercialism. The Hong Kong cinema has to be popular in order to be at all

Pain Recovery Complex: Pure Love In Criss Cross Of Time And Space In East Asian Romance Films

1120 words - 5 pages people’s own identity which is different from Chinese. However, Hong Kong's handover to the mainland in 1997 resulted in a transformation and perplexity of Hong Kong: in late 1980s, there appeared “a post-97 sentiment "in the film. Hong Kong's status as a colonial city made its local films have the tendency to explore indirectly “the Chinese identity” of Hong Kong people. These Hong Kong nostalgia films, such as The City of Glass (1998), Chungking

What Factors In The Present Situation Of Hong Kong Explain This Sudden Surge Of Interest In Tsang’s Works?

2073 words - 9 pages rather culturally developing society, Hong Kong developed its own Arts, in terms of visual arts, cinema, music and theatre. Most of the cultural movements during the postcolonial period have glimpses of the colonial time.. After the handover, the arts were all greatly influenced by the British. Several local artists argue that there has been no ‘collective memory’ of the city and its culture through the arts (Lau, 1997). Additionally, since the