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“In this case, it’s not just Hong Kong films, but I’m hoping that people will have a better appreciation of processes of globalization and all of the ways in which globalization changes our lives in a dramatic way, and Hong Kong film is one example of that.” – Profession Gina Marchetti at a public talk.

Hong Kong Cinema Through a Global Lens
, as the title suggests, is about cinema. To answer the call, the teaching team, Professor Gina Marchetti, Dr. Aaron Magnan-Park and Dr. Stacilee Ford, moved our classroom to the Broadway Cinematheque in Yau Me Tei on February 4, 2017 to reach cinema goers, because movie “is a very important part of the cultural life of Hong Kong,” Gina remarked.

Given the wide variety of audience involved in a MOOC, it’s never easy to decide on what to include and what not. So the course team asked themselves two questions: What are people genuinely interested in around the world? And what is extremely significant but people may not be so interested in? The answers helped them to construct a learning environment that allows people to reflect on what they already know as well as expand their horizons.

Among our audience were many International Baccalaureate (IB) students who are particularly interested in Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love. In the Q&A section, one student asked, “What do you think was the director’s intent when filming the film?” While Gina explained that she cannot get into any director’s head, she was pretty sure that “Wong Kar Wai had Cannes on his mind.” But more importantly, Aaron reminded students who are studying films that “your interpretation based on your insights on the film is in some ways more important that what the director intended to do.”

We were joined by an audience of over 40.

Given that MOOCs are open to all and free of charge, one of the audience members wondered where the funding comes from. It was a wonderful occasion to let the public know that MOOCs are now an important initiative for all universities. Many of them, including this course, are funded by the university because, as Gina put it, “it’s part of our educational mission to do researches that are significant to the public, and to make it available to the public.”

So what does the course team want to tell everybody via this MOOC? In short……

Week 1: Jackie Chan
“Pushing the boundaries of what was going on in world cinema at that time, pushing the boundary of what people were conceiving in terms of action in the Hollywood.”
Week 2: Bruce Lee and the Global Kung Fu Craze
“Shattering the image of China as the sick man of Asia” and “creating an image of a successful and popular Chinese masculinity that broke away from Confucian tradition of just being the brainy smart guy.”
Week 3: Melodramas of Migrations: Mabel Cheung Yuen Ting’s An Autumn’s Tale
Busts all the Hollywood stereotypes that still exist today – “the ways in which often times Chinese men are ignored, or feminized, or seen as only about Kung Fu; The ways in which women are seen as exotic, or available, or passive, or dragon ladies.”
Week 4: John Woo’s Heroic Bloodshed Films: Hong Kong vs. Hollywood
The Killer as a contract to John Woo’s Hollywood movies reflects that Confucian Brotherhood as a core concept is replaced with American selfhood when John Woo moves on to the Hollywood.
Week 5: Hong Kong on Postmodern Screens: Infernal Affairs
The movie relates to “certain aspects of global society in terms of consumerism, technology, different aspects of identity, split identities, changes in Hong Kong, allegorical changes relating to politics.”
Week 6: Hong Kong Cinema as World Cinema / In the Mood for Love
Its strong emphasis on Room 2046 expresses the fear of returning to China in the 1997 handover. Yet, the movie is a lot more than just about the handover. “If Wong Kar Wai made films only about 1997 in Hong Kong, he wouldn’t be at Cannes.”

Missed the seminar? No worries. Sign up for the course here to learn more or have a look at the event photos here.

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Organised by Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI)

Date : February 4, 2017 (Saturday)
Time : 3:30pm
Venue : 1/F, Broadway Cinematheque, 3 Public Square St, Yau Ma Tei
Speakers :
- Gina Marchetti, Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature, HKU
- Aaron Magnan-Park, Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature, HKU
- Stacilee Ford, Honorary Associate Professor in the Department of History, HKU

Facebook Live

The talk will be conducted in English.

About the seminar:

Understanding the role Hong Kong plays on world screens animates the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) devoted to Hong Kong films. Together, let’s examine how the local and the global intersect to make Hong Kong cinema an integral part of popular culture around the world as well as a leading force in the development of world cinematic art.

This presentation introduces you to the key films, stars, directors, and genres that represent Hong Kong on global screens. We will chat about how flows of capital, people, technologies, ideas and creativity circulate and shape the cultural industry of filmmaking globally, resulting in transnational co-productions and cross-cultural co-operations.

Join us to learn more about Hong Kong cinema as an expressive art and a creative industry.


The Karate Kid (dir. Harald Zwart, 2010)
Fist of Fury / The Chinese Connection 精武門 (dir. Lo Wei 羅維, 1972)
Enter the Dragon 龍爭虎鬥 (dir. Robert Clouse, 1973)
An Autumn’s Tale 秋天的童話 (dir. Mabel Cheung 張婉婷, 1987)
The Killer 喋血雙雄(dir. John Woo 吳宇森, 1989)
Infernal Affairs 無間道 (dir. Andrew Lau and Alan Mak 劉偉強和麥兆輝, 2002)
In the Mood for Love 花樣年華 (dir. Wong Kar Wai 王家衛, 2000)

HKU free online course: Hong Kong Cinema through a Global Lens

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Register now! 課程登記指引

HKU Online LearningWhatever you know and wherever you are we invite you to join us on a journey to consider how the local and the global intersect to make Hong Kong cinema an integral part of popular culture around the world as well as a leading force in the development of world cinematic art.




Highlights of the course

  • Develop your critical and historical thinking skills through analyzing the interconnected relationship between the global scene and local lives in HK films;
  • Broaden your perspectives on identity issues through finding the familiar in the foreign in Hong Kong cinema;
  • Deepen your perspective on the impact of globalization on your own society through analyzing Hong Kong cinema.


  • 通過分析香港電影業的本地市場與國際舞臺之間的關係,培養您的批判和歷史思維能力;
  • 在香港電影中不熟識的場景尋找熟識的細節,從而拓展您對身份問題的了解;
  • 通過分析香港電影業,讓您更明白全球化對社會的影響。
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