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The Other Side of GlamourThe Left-wing Studio Network in Hong Kong Cinema in the Cold War Era and Beyond$
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Vivian P.Y. Lee

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474424622

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474424622.001.0001

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Remaking Cantonese film culture: Union and Sun Luen

Remaking Cantonese film culture: Union and Sun Luen

(p.59) Chapter 3 Remaking Cantonese film culture: Union and Sun Luen
The Other Side of Glamour

Vivian P.Y. Lee

Edinburgh University Press

Ranked among the “big four” Cantonese film studios in Hong Kong during the 1950s and the first half of the 1960s, the studio style of Sun Luen and Union can be defined by a creative adaptation of the aesthetic taste and preferences of the south-bound intellectuals from Mainland China. the filmmakers were guided by their vision of a healthy Cantonese film culture as an agent of more far-reaching social change, which explains their sense of urgency in using cinema as a collective wake-up call against a materialistic (capitalist) and decadent society that colonial Hong Kong presumably had become. Their work included the Third Cantonese Cinema Clean-up Movement and the founding of the South China Film Industry Workers’ Union in 1949. This chapter takes a closer look at the studios’ genre films to shed light on the left -wing’s effort to claim a space in the commercial mainstream. It is argued that alongside the more serious drama films, the lighter entertainment films also contributed to the “studio style” of the left -wing cinema.

Keywords:   Cantonese film studios, Union, Sun Luen, Third Cantonese Cinema Clean-up Movement, South China Film Industry Workers’ Union, genre films, studio style

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