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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published online by De Gruyter June 28, 2022

The Evolving Esthetics of Hong Kong Films in the 21st Century

Weifang Zhao


Since the 21st century, great changes have taken place in film co-productions between Hong Kong and the mainland and local films in Hong Kong. Since the signing of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) in 2003 between the two regions, co-production between Hong Kong and the mainland moved from a state of maladjustment to mutual exchange and integration. However, a crisis of narrative homogenization arose around 2010, but this situation was remedied by anti-homogenization efforts through adding films of suspense genre. Around 2015, a “new mainstream blockbuster” connecting the performance of mainland mainstream values and esthetics emerged in co-productions, successfully carrying out a mainland replacement of extant blockbusters that commonly featured Hong Kong-style humanistic values and esthetics. Hong Kong local films are also undergoing esthetic evolution in the context of the cultural conservation of Hong Kong people. First, a return can be witnessed to classic “Hong Kong’s flavor” films such as gangster and ghost films, inheriting and innovating the traditional “Hong Kong’s flavor” esthetic. Secondly, we can observe Hong Kong society and its changing history from a cultural perspective through a consideration of the changing film esthetic. After many changes, Hong Kong films have entered a new esthetic form.

Corresponding author: Weifang Zhao, Chinese National Academy of Arts, Beijing, China, E-mail:
Translated by: Qingxue Li, Communication University of China, Beijing, China.


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Published Online: 2022-06-28

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