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Film Studies: National Cinemas

This guide highlights selected resources for various national cinemas.

Introduction to Hong Kong cinema

The China‐US co‐production, Zhuang Zi Tests His Wife (1913), directed by Li Ming Wei, is claimed to be Hong Kong's earliest film. Li Min‐wei then established two influential film companies, Minxin (China Sun) in 1922 and Lianhua (United Photoplay Services) in 1930, both based in Hong Kong but distributing films widely throughout China. With the arrival of synchronized sound in the 1930s the Hong Kong industry produced films both in Mandarin for mainland China and in Cantonese for Hong Kong and the southern mainland province of Guangdong. Adaptations of opera and wu xia martial arts films combining elaborate swordfighting and fantasy, were popular during this early period. With the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria and then Shanghai, the other key centre of film production in China, many filmmakers fled to Hong Kong where they worked on ‘national defence films’ until the 1941 Japanese invasion halted film production.  ...

In the period following World War II, Hong Kong became a home for filmmakers who had been accused of collaborating with the Japanese on the mainland as well as a further group of communist exiles fleeing persecution by the Kuomintang government. Employing this displaced talent, and continuing to exploit the expanding mainland market, the Hong Kong film industry thrived.

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2012). Hong Kong, film in. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 13 May. 2021

In the Library Collection

This page is dedicated to Hong Kong cinema. To see more of the Chinese diaspora in filmmaking, click on other pages within this guide.

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book titles

For more titles, click here.

Other library resource(s)

Selected movie titles

Find more Hong Kong film titles in the library's online catalog.

Internet resource(s)