The rise of Cantonese cinema

The era of 70s was a blend of genres of cinema. While the mainstream had finally seen a boom, the genesis of New Wave in the Hong Kong cinema built up the credentials of Cantonese cinema & a sense of aestheticism in their Mandarin films.

The return of Cantonese really took off with the comedies of former TVB stars the Hui Brothers. Their rationale was clear: “Films by devoted young people with you in mind.” Some movies also broke ground by satirising at the modern reality of an ascendant middle class.

1970s saw the former Shaw Brother executives Raymond Chow and Leonard Ho form their own studio, Golden Harvest top the studio list, signing up Jackie Chan, the kung fu comedy actor-filmmaker who would spend the next twenty years as Asia’s biggest box office draw.

The brief career of Tang Shu Shuen, the territory’s first noted woman director, produced two films that were trailblazers for a local, socially critical art cinema. They are also widely considered forerunners of the Hong Kong New Wave that would come from outside the traditional studio hierarchy and point to new possibilities for the industry.

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