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Students to get kick from local films
Posted on Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 6:16 am
by IDMA Editor

Mention Hong Kong movies, and the screen exploits of martial arts film stars like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan Kong- sang and Sammo Hung Kam-bo spring to mind.

With such a rich film heritage, it comes as no surprise then to learn that the University of Hong Kong is holding a "general education activity" centered on the city's action movies.

Apart from studying the unique nature of Hong Kong's contribution to the world of action films, there will also be a seminar and workshops to enhance students' knowledge.

The university's General Education Unit, which is behind next month's project, has indicated that the seminar will compare "action design" in Chinese and Japanese films, the international status of Hong Kong's action movies and its contribution to Chinese culture, and how computer games have affected the development of action movies.

The event includes the screening of a Bruce Lee film.

The keynote speaker at the seminar will be cross- media artist Au Kam-tong, a devoted Lee fan.

Students can take part in the one-day workshop on March 26 and experience action design and planning, as well as the design and shooting process. The workshop will be restricted to 25 people and the deadline for applications is March 18.

HKU general education officer Elaine Chan Kim-mui said the cinema is known as the "eighth art." That's because it is an excellent cross-academic area - students may learn music, art, action design and several other things.

That was why HKU decided to organize an activity related to movies. Director Stanley Tong Kwai-Lai was consulted for the project.

Tong said in the 1960s and the 70s, local action movies mainly featured kung fu because of technical and financial restrictions. It was hard to create grand scenes.

For instance, explosives were banned by the government on safety concerns. Production time was short and sets were small, so only simple kicks and punches were used in the plot. As a result, most first- generation action actors were those who had received opera training.

Chan said with the globalization of movies in recent years, action scenes have become much more diverse. With the blossoming of the movie market in the mainland, Hong Kong productions such as Bodyguards and Assassins and others with kung fu elements have become popular with audiences.

Chan said David Broadwell, an expert on Chinese and Japanese kung fu movie studies, once pointed out that Hong Kong's action movies always contain what he described as "pause-burst-pause,"' by which he meant one has to wait for the action. They also contain a hint of Chinese philosophy, but the technology is mainly from the West. Hong Kong's action movies, therefore, are a blend of Eastern and Western cultures.

Chan said Hong Kong action movies have been acclaimed worldwide. They relate the stories of the people's struggles, and so are worth learning from.

I think the activity will help students appreciate movies. Other than paying attention to the plots and casting, they can also closely study action designs to enrich their knowledge of action movies.

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