Hong Kong Cinema, Culture, and Society

This is a Service-learning course.


Hong Kong cinema has often been associated with mass entertainment, especially action and martial arts films. However, postwar Hong Kong cinema of the 1950s and 1960s, the Hong Kong New Wave of the early 1980s, and recent small-budget local productions prove the existence of socially engaged cinema in Hong Kong film history that addresses social, political, and psychological issues. In this course, students will cultivate critical analysis of Hong Kong culture, history, identity, and society, caring for the local community, communication between people of diverse backgrounds, and critical awareness of media representations through socially conscious reading of select Hong Kong films and innovative service-learning projects, which consist of interviews with community members, in-class and free public screenings, and three-minute documentary


The service-learning projects intend to explore and recover the sociocultural functions of Hong Kong cinema beyond escapist entertainment and reconnect Hong Kong cinema with the local community. The course will start with pre-service training in class and the classroom will be extended to the local cinema Broadway Cinematheque in Yau Ma Tei with guest workshops. Students will conduct interviews with disadvantaged, grass-roots, and marginalized community members in Yau Ma Teu, sharing their own cinematic experiences while asking the interviewees about their cinematic memories and what (Hong Kong) cinema means to them. The available interviewees will be invited to a free screening introduced and moderated by students with the aim of reclaiming the middle-class space to serve the local community. The three-minute documentaries of interviews will be screened in the Yaumatei Community Center, where both service users and students will reflect on the collective sharing and making of cinematic experience.


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