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  Hong Kong Women Filmmakers: Sex, Politics and Cinema Aesthetics, 1997-2010

  Screenshot of the Hong Kong Women Filmmakers website
This project examines the major role Hong Kong women filmmakers play in local, regional, and global motion picture culture since the establishment of the HKSAR in 1997. The research focuses on key films by established and emerging women directors, producers, and scriptwriters in order to explore the way these women highlight specific issues involving gender, sexuality, politics, and aesthetics. A website hosted by the Women’s Studies Research Centre and the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong documents currently active Hong Kong women filmmakers with biographies, filmographies, bibliographies, critical reviews, film stills, and other visuals (https://hkwomenfilmmakers.
wordpress.com/). The site also includes news items and screening schedules. Local filmmakers and scholars attended the launch of the site on March 6, 2015, and expressed their appreciation of having their work included to facilitate networking among women working in the field and to juxtapose their own films with work by their female peers.
  The Hong Kong Women Filmmakers research team from left: Iris EU, Prof Gina MARCHETTI, Man Man WONG and Dr Derek LAM (inset)  

As a perusal of titles by HKSAR women filmmakers indicates, these female motion picture artists tend to be attracted to specific subjects and aesthetic forms; notably, women’s roles in the Chinese family, working women, women’s position in public life and politics, feminism, domestic violence, female sex workers, consumerism, women’s sexuality, lesbianism, romance, and female desire. They have been very sensitive to women outside of Hong Kong, and many have chosen to look at women in the PRC or within the Chinese diaspora as well. They have been leaders in the innovative use of the medium to explore subjectivity, memory, narrative form, character psychology, and domestic space. Building on this foundation, the principal investigator, Gina MARCHETTI, analyzed a selection of key films using the methodological tools of close textual analysis and feminist ideological critique in order to explore the ways in which these films can be contextualized as part of broader political, cultural, and aesthetic developments in world cinema.
MARCHETTI has published her research on HKSAR women filmmakers in A Companion to Hong Kong Cinema (Wiley- Blackwell Press, 2015) as well as contributing to the scholarly literature review in Oxford Bibliographies in Cinema and Media Studies (with the assistance of Dr Derek LAM). Other articles and book chapters are forthcoming from Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, Feminist Media Studies, Emergent Feminisms and the Challenge to Postfeminist Media Culture, Citing China: Politics, Postmodernism, and World Cinema, and the Palgrave Handbook of Asian Cinema. She has presented her research findings at conferences in Dublin, London, New Delhi, Macau, and Ningbo, and she has been invited to speak on Hong Kong women filmmakers in Taiwan, Glasgow, and locally.

Her findings indicate that HKSAR women filmmakers play an active part in the local industry and an increasingly important role in the region through their participation in co-productions with the PRC. They build on their transnational connections and diasporic associations to produce and exhibit their work globally, garnering critical recognition and awards at international film festivals such as Venice and Berlin. At the crossroads of the British Empire and the People’s Republic of China, these women contribute their unique perspective to world screen culture.
  (From left to right) Man Man WONG (Research Assistant), Prof Gina MARCHETTI (Principal Investigator), Prof Louisa WEI (filmmaker), Cassandra CHAN (filmmaker), Vicky DO (filmmaker), Angie CHEN (filmmaker), Gina WONG (filmmaker), Prof Katrien JACOBS (filmmaker) and Dr Staci FORD  

Department of Comparative Literature

The University of Hong Kong