Cinema of Hong Kong  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The cinema of Hong Kong is one of the three major threads in the history of Chinese language cinema, alongside the cinema of China, and the cinema of Taiwan. As a former British colony, Hong Kong had a greater degree of political and economic freedom than mainland China and Taiwan, and developed into a filmmaking hub for the Chinese-speaking world (including its worldwide diaspora) and for East Asia in general. For decades, Hong Kong was the third largest motion picture industry in the world (after Bollywood and Hollywood) and the second largest exporter. Despite an industry crisis starting in the mid-'90s and Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty in July 1997, Hong Kong film has retained much of its distinctive identity and continues to play a prominent part on the world cinema stage.

In the West, Hong Kong's vigorous pop cinema (especially Hong Kong action cinema) has long had a strong cult following, which has become large enough that it is now arguably a part of the cultural mainstream, widely available and imitated. This influence has been particularly heavy on recent Hollywood trends in the action genre.

The Hong Kong industry

Unlike many film industries, Hong Kong has enjoyed little to no direct government support, through either subsidies or import quotas. It is a thoroughly commercial cinema: highly corporate, concentrating on crowd-pleasing genres like comedy and action, and relying heavily on formulas, sequels and remakes.

Hong Kong film derives a number of elements from Hollywood, such as certain genre parameters, an ingratiating "thrill-a-minute" philosophy and fast pacing and editing. But the borrowings are filtered through elements from traditional Chinese drama and art, particularly a penchant for stylization and a disregard for Western standards of realism. This, combined with a fast and loose approach to the filmmaking process, contributes to the energy and surreal imagination that foreign audiences note in Hong Kong cinema.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Cinema of Hong Kong" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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